The National Pork Board is taking a multi-faceted approach to address Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) by focusing on additional research and building upon its working coalition of groups that now goes beyond U.S. borders.
“We are putting together this collaboration to identify and prioritize the research needed on feed, to answer questions and help us solve the puzzle — what, if any, role did feed or feed ingredients play in PEDV exposure,” says Paul Sundberg, DVM, vice president of science and technology for the Pork Checkoff. “This effort will proceed in a timely and efficient manner to get the research completed and the information available to pork producers and veterinarians as quickly as possible.”
This new effort extends beyond the United States as Genome Alberta has committed $500,000 to support the coalition’s feed-focused research efforts. “This is a great opportunity for Canadian and U.S. cooperation, because we are involved in North American pork production and we need to work together to find answers,” Sundberg says.
Further expanding the money available for PEDV, the National Pork Board of Directors last week designated another $650,000 for PEDV research and information; that’s in addition to the $1.1 million allocated in 2013. Those extra dollars are in line with producers’ priorities. According to survey results presented at last week’s National Pork Industry Forum, 30 percent of producers said hog health and disease was the single biggest challenge they faced.
“In a year that brought significant herd losses due to PEDV, the survey underscores that the issue is still top of mind for many producers,” says Karen Richter, National Pork Board president and a producer from Montgomery, Minn. “But with this concern comes opportunity for the Pork Checkoff to fund additional research into PEDV.”
The new funds will be used to address the following areas, according to Kelly Graff, a producer from Sanborn, Minn., and member of the Checkoff’s swine health committee:
- Feed-related research, including biosecurity and possible exposure.
- Breeding herd immunity — “This is one of the most pressing questions that we have,” Graff points out.
- Entry of the virus into the United States and its spread farm to farm.
“When the outbreak started last spring, we put some of the best minds in the country to work on transmission, biosecurity practices and the PED virus itself,” Sundberg adds. As a result, three working groups created numerous reports, guidelines and information products that are all accessible at pork.org. These working groups include:
- Biosecurity: Information about keeping the virus off the farm.
- Bio-containment: Guidance for what to do if your herd is exposed to PEDV; how to keep the virus on your farm and not spread it to others.
- Packer biosecurity: A review of biosecurity practices, the risks of transmission and how to address those risks.
“There is a long list of resources available,” Sundberg says. “It’s a work in progress, and we’re going to be doing more.”