A unique £1.5 million project involving national mass vaccination of pigs - something that has never been tried before in the UK - is proving a resounding success.
The project was looking at the value of vaccinating against PCV2 and the results are so important for the English pig industry, the preliminary findings are being announced immediately.
They were presented at the PVS autumn meeting today(Fri) using replies from vets responsible for 100,000 sows and 2,000,000 pigs to finish.
The conclusion from the survey showed dramatic improvements in physical performance in all areas.
- increased weaned litter size up to half a piglet per litter
- up to 5% lower nursery and 6% lower finishing mortalities
- pigs were more uniform
- pigs reached finished weight up to 10 days earlier
On top of the results, BPEX Director of Pig Industry Development Mark Wilson, had more good news. He said: "We planned for a nine-month project to end in December but I am delighted to announce the research project will be extended for another month. We will be writing to all those who have taken part with the good news."
The project got under way in April and so far almost 1.5million doses have been funded, on 483 units with 305,000 sows - 75% of the English sow herd.
The research started because health was still top of the agenda with high mortality, slow growth rate and variable performance being blamed on PMWS and PDNS issues.
As new PCV2 vaccines became available and were being shown to be effective in other countries, BPEX provided funds to research the impact on our industry using data to monitor performance and assess the economic effectiveness.
Mark said: "The low point in terms of production efficiency was April 2004 with just fewer than 17 pigs being sold per sow per year and 1213kgs of meat per sow per year.
"However, in recent years, health and therefore productivity improvements have been fantastic due to many factors including the hard work and determination of producers, their staff and vets.
"There is emerging evidence that PCV2 vaccines and their uptake are having a significant and positive impact on pig health and welfare."
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