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mikey

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Re: England U.K. Hog News:
« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2009, 02:06:48 AM »
Thursday, April 02, 2009Print This Page
Lack of Confidence Brings Down Pig Numbers
SCOTLAND, UK - More pig producers will leave the industry, which is in danger of collapsing altogether, if confidence does not improve, NFU Scotland’s Pigs Committee Chairman, Philip Sleigh told MSPs.

 

Mr. Sleigh was giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs and the Environment Committee alongside other industry representatives including Gordon McKen, Managing Director of Scottish Pigs Producers Ltd. and Brian McGonagle, Managing Director of Vion Hall’s.

The panel was succeeded by Stuart Ashworth of Quality Meat Scotland, Professor Christopher Wathes, Chairman of the Farm Animal Welfare Council and Gavin Dick of the Scottish Agricultural College.

The session was called by the Rural Affairs Committee on the back of the pig industry’s continued plight, which has worsened since the Pig Industry Taskforce, which was established nearly a year ago to consider possible actions to help the industry, published its recommendations in August 08

Speaking after the session, NFU Scotland’s Pigs Committee Chairman Philip Sleigh said, “We are grateful to the Rural Affairs Committee for keeping this issue on their agenda and for allowing us another opportunity to explain our concerns about the long-term viability of the industry and how to help producers get out of the mire of regulation and price volatility.

“Sadly the window to implement the Taskforce’s worthwhile recommendations has passed. Prices have improved to some degree, but this is largely due to the fact that the Sterling has fallen so starkly against the Euro. This improvement is also on the back of a ten-year financial low for pig producers, and many of Scotland’s remaining producers are therefore planning to leave the industry in 2012, when the deadline for building costly additional slurry storage in compliance with Nitrates regulations arrives. This huge financial outlay, which will not make businesses more efficient, means many pig farmers will choose to stop production altogether."

Mr Sleigh said it is not too late for politicians to alter the course of legislation which is currently being drafted in order to prevent the Scottish pig industry from collapsing. "We urged the MSPs to encourage their Westminster counterparts to re-introduce capital allowances for new farm buildings, and to advocate that their colleagues in the European Parliament prevent re-drafted rules on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) from getting out of hand," he said.

“Closer to home it is crucial that the review of the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) makes it easier for producers to access funding, including for building improvements, which would help pig units become more efficient.

“We learned at the meeting that the Cabinet Secretary, Richard Lochhead, will appear before the Committee later this April in response to today’s session and we shall take the opportunity, following consultation with NFU Scotland members, to reiterate our points, in a formal written document, to MSPs," he concluded.



mikey

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Re: England U.K. Hog News:
« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2009, 01:40:08 AM »
Friday, April 03, 2009Print This Page
Public Urged to Use Less Popular Cuts of Pork
UK - The Government is backing a drive to help struggling domestic farmers by encouraging consumers to buy less popular cuts of British pork.



Promoting cheaper cuts, a voluntary code of practice to stamp out misleading labelling and getting the public sector to buy more British meat can all help the ailing pig industry, says Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

Yesterday the department published its official response to a report by MPs into the industry, where many farmers are struggling to make a living.

Officials said the Government's "clear position" was to support "clearer and tighter country of origin labelling", something the Yorkshire Post's Clearly British campaign has been calling for. A taskforce set up to examine the future of the industry has been charged with drawing up a code of practice in an effort to stop cheap foreign imports being passed off as British.

The department also said a drive to promote cheaper joints of pork – which would driving up prices as more of the carcass is used – was "welcome".

In the week after TV chef Jamie Oliver highlighted the issue on Channel 4, sales of less popular pork shoulder joints went up by 75 per cent, and the Government is keen for the public sector to use value joints of pork.

Defra also welcomed moves by some supermarkets to back domestic producers and be more transparent, but said the situation was "far from ideal".

According to the Yorkshire Post, officials also defended the introduction of higher welfare standards but said the length of time it was taking for continent-wide standards to be raised was "disappointing".






mikey

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Re: England U.K. Hog News:
« Reply #32 on: April 07, 2009, 04:37:58 AM »
Monday, April 06, 2009Print This Page
Bird Flu in Pigs
UK - Some scientists believe the H5N1 virus may be replicating into weaker variations. One of the reasons they take this view is that the virus appears to have adapted to operate in pig populations.


Pigs have cells in their trachea that allow for both avian and human flu infections. If pigs carry both human and avian strains at a given time replication detail can be traded among the flu species and within the pig host new combinations could arise.

So although the pig variety may be less virulent than its avian-oriented relatives, virologists believe transference to the pig population may be a precursor to human infection.

When H5N1 viruses were isolated from pigs in Indonesia and were tested on mice the pig-oriented variation was found to be much less devastating to the exposed mice than the avian H5N1 species.

In growing in pigs, the virus may have become less harmful to mammals in general but it might also mean the virus is one step closer to turning into a human pandemic strain.

However pig infections are thought to happen only occasionally and it is not clear at present whether the H5N1 virus has truly adapted to pigs.

mikey

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Re: England U.K. Hog News:
« Reply #33 on: April 21, 2009, 01:54:12 AM »
APRIL 19

Yorkshire producers make history as work
starts on health improvement scheme

Funding is now in place to build a healthier, more efficient and more internationally competitive Yorkshire and Humberside pig herd. The target is to give producers the tools to reduce production costs by up to £8 a pig.

“We can’t rely on the current favourable euro-sterling exchange rate for our future profitability,” said NPA and BPEX chairman Stewart Houston. “We have all got to work on our key performance indicators - pigs per sow per year, feed conversion and growth rate - and that is what improved health through the county will help deliver.”

There are two reasons why the English pig industry’s pig health improvement scheme is being rolled out in Yorkshire ahead of other regions.

Crucially, Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency, shares producers’ vision of what can be achieved to improve pig health and welfare. And equally important, Yorkshire pig-keepers have, in the words of one producer, demonstrated they are “up for tackling something really big” to improve health status.

The Yorkshire and Humberside project will take several years to complete. It is intended there will be a lasting legacy of information sharing and co-operation which will bring production benefits for generations of pig-keepers to come.

Leading figures in the industry have acknowledged that had the project been in place several years ago it might have been possible to reduce the impact of wasting disease in Yorkshire significantly, by pinpointing how the disease was entering the county and how and where it was spreading.

The majority of producers who have been briefed on the project have been wholly supportive. Others will have a chance to hear about the plans first hand at NPA’s northern region meeting at The Crown at Boroughbridge on Thursday April 30.

Bringing down disease pressure over a whole county presents considerable challenges, say consultants David Thelwall and Sam Hoste who are leading the project for BPEX.

“We need all the input from producers and vets that we can get. Everyone has his or her own view about what can be achieved and how best to achieve it, and the steering group needs to gather all that information.”

Because of its size and scale there are two phases to the project - Planning (this year) and Action (next year onwards). NPA has given its support, as has the British Pig Association.

The planning phase will cost around £300,000, which will come from Yorkshire Forward, as part of the current Rural Development Programme, and BPEX.

It will include the mapping of all pig units in Yorkshire and Humberside and an attempt to determine their health status. Identifying mainstream pig operations may be relatively straightforward. Locating and communicating with smaller scale pig-keepers poses a greater challenge but will be critical to the scheme’s success.

“If we are going to have a successful disease mitigation programme we are going to need to know where the pigs are, what chronic diseases they have got, the economic impact of reducing that disease and the best way to achieve it,” said David Thelwall.

Professor Stan Done, of the Veterinary Laboratories Agency at Thirsk, and veterinarian Nigel Wolfenden, of the Bishopton Veterinary Group, will be working on ways to quantify a herd’s disease status. This is a formidable task.

NPA and BPEX hope the Yorkshire and Humberside health improvement scheme will be a mechanism for winning a discount on Defra’s planned disease tax which is expected to cost a 250-sow producer around £1,500 a year from 2012.

“As producers start paying more attention to reducing endemic disease they will as a matter of course improve biosecurity throughout the region,” said Stewart Houston. “I will be using this to demonstrate how favourably the pig industry’s biosecurity compares with the biosecurity of other sectors.

“I will be vigourously pressing the case that those who sign up to the scheme should get the added benefit of a discount on their cost and responsibility levy.

Although Thelwall and Hoste will be addressing meetings in the region to explain the scheme in detail and to gather people‘s ideas and advice, producers can contribute at any point by offering their thoughts to steering group members, who include Richard Lister (chairman), Stewart Houston, David Neal, Phil Stephenson, Chris Barlow and Glenn Dams.

Although reducing disease pressure across a region is complicated - the pig vets are very clear about that - the concept of the scheme itself is simple.

“We accept that it will be impossible to persuade one hundred percent of pig owners to take part but our target will be create a growing area of minimal disease pressure which in turn will reduce the chances of reinfection after, say, a destock,” said David Thelwall.

Over the next few months the steering group will have several key issues to tackle - for instance how to accommodate the time-lag in breeding stock availability, and whether it will be possible for the scheme to have its own off-site finisher accommodation.

Many producers are keen to see some action as soon as possible and may wish the planning phase, which is from now to December, could be shorter, but mapping the Yorkshire pig herd and allocating a health status to each herd is going to be a time-consuming and complex task.

But it is, as the steering group has pointed out, a job worth carrying out in its own right. Even if the project went no further it will be immensely useful for the industry to know where all the pigs are and what disease challenge they present.

Another task will be to draw up a protocol for participating producers to sign up to. Only after talking to producers and the allied trades will it be possible to determine what the protocol should include and how demanding it should be.

The steering group is clear that it wants the scheme’s progress to be as transparent as possible. “We know what we are attempting to do is a really big deal,” said David Thelwall. “There are considerable hurdles to overcome but with the industry’s support we will overcome them.”

One of the aims of the project will be to leave a lasting legacy for the next generation of Yorkshire pig farmers.

“We want this regional grouping to continue after the funding ends,” said Sam Hoste.
“Having a local structure for sharing information - identifying what disease problems people have got and how they are going to deal with them - is going to leave us in a much better place than we are in now.”

 


mikey

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Re: England U.K. Hog News:
« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2009, 12:58:45 AM »
Wednesday, April 22, 2009Print This Page
Keep Watch for H1N2 Swine Flu, Erysipelas in UK
UK - The Monthly Surveillance Report from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) for March highlights sudden deaths and lameness caused by Erysipelas, Actinobacillus involvement in severe respiratory problems and evidence of the circulation of the H1N2 swine flu virus.




Highlights
Erysipelas causes problems manifesting as sudden death and lameness in pigs of different ages
Evidence of circulating swine influenza H1N2
Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae associated with severe respiratory pathology, and
Clostridial disease responsible for the sudden death of a boar.
Enteric Diseases
Appropriate samples essential for diagnosis of swine dysentery
A 230-sow breeder-finisher with separate sites for growing and finishing pigs was seeing disease in pigs aged 12 to 20 weeks. Younger pigs were affected with poor growth rates and increased mortality with older pigs showing anaemia and dysentery. Five pigs were selected by the farmer for necropsy with weights ranging from 7 to 34 kg. The predominant findings were of pleuropneumonia and polyserositis with Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae being isolated and two of the pigs that were PRRSv positive by PCR. Only one of the pigs had a necrotising colitis and this pig also had a severe gastritis with salmonella isolated from both sites. Following discussion with the clinician and the possibility that submitted pigs were not fully representative of the problem, further samples were submitted later the same day and swine dysentery was confirmed in the group of older pigs which had dysentery and colitis.

Sudden deaths associated with Lawsonia intracellularis
The carcasses of three 15- to 16-week-old pigs were submitted for postmortem. On the unit there has been a history of weaners dying suddenly without preceding clinical signs, otherwise their cohorts were doing well and reaching the expected target weight, housed on a wet feed system. There had been a history of younger pigs having suffered rectal prolapses. The gross pathology found in the first carcase was consistent with porcine proliferative enteritis complex (Lawsonia intracellularis), the gross pathology found in the other two carcasses was consistent with a septicaemia and associated toxaemia, and a Group B Salmonella was recovered.

Post-weaning diarrhoea
Samples were submitted from cases of post-weaning diarrhoea occurring seven to 10 days after weaning at four weeks old. Profuse pure growths of haemolytic K88 antigen positive E. coli were isolated from all samples, consistent with enteric colibacillosis.

Salmonellosis
Several outbreaks of salmonellosis in rearing pigs have been diagnosed in the last two months and two are described here.

In one, scour was described in approximately 200 nine-week-old pigs with 15 deaths over the three days since the problem began. Pigs were in groups of 100 in outdoor tents on a 1000 sow outdoor grower-producer unit. Findings were similar in all three pigs submitted which were in quite poor body condition with a watery light green scour and post-mortem findings consistent with mild to moderate typhlocolitis with some multifocal diptheresis.

Salmonella Typhimurium phage type 193 was isolated from the intestines. In another, wasting, dehydration and deaths with some scour in seven-week-old pigs were reported on an indoor nursery-finisher unit. Approximately 20 per cent of 820 pigs from one source were affected with 41 deaths over 10 days and a poor response to several antimicrobial treatments was described. Water pipes were noted to be frozen when the practitioner visited the previous week. Three pigs were submitted; the small intestines of two were segmentally dilated with fluid and there was diphtheresis of the terminal ileum in one pig.

The large intestines showed multifocal to confluent diphtheresis in the caecum and proximal colon with accumulation of fibrinous material in the lumen, thickened large intestinal wall and watery light brown scour. S. Typhimurium U288 was isolated from the livers and intestines. The pigs were in poor body condition which, together with the history suggested that disease was ongoing for some time and earlier disease due to, for example, colibacillosis and/or managemental/environmental factors, e.g. chilling, may have played a part in this disease problem. The freezing of water pipes was also likely to be relevant particularly as inadequate intake of water or feed may affect antimicrobial efficacy when dosing is by either route. The use of a variety of antibiotics may also adversely affect the bacterial flora of the gut.

Colitis due to Brachyspira pilosicoli associated wth clinical signs of diarrhoea and wasting on an organic herd
In the third case mild colitis with scour and wasting due to Brachyspira pilosicoli infection was diagnosed in organic pigs submitted to investigate coughing, wasting and increased mortality in eight-week-old pigs. Twenty per cent of a batch of 220 was affected and mortality had doubled since Christmas. The unit was an outdoor rearing herd receiving pigs weekly from one source into a continuous paddock system. The main findings in three pigs submitted were poor body condition and diarrhoea, with large intestines distended with liquid contents and gross lesions suggestive of a catarrhal enteritis in the distal small intestine of two pigs. Brachyspira pilosicoli was isolated but no other enteropathogens were identified and there was no evidence of PCV2 or PRRSV involvement.

Respiratory Diseases
Severe respiratory disease due to Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae
Sudden onset lethargy, laboured breathing and mortality occurred in localised groups of pens in two houses of finisher pigs on a continuous unit. There was coughing elsewhere although remaining pigs were said to be bright. Around 35 per cent of pigs in one shed and a few in another shed were affected and six late finishers had died. Two pigs in good body condition were submitted with extensive purple blotching on the skin and gross findings consistent with severe pleuropneumonia due to Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae. There were marked accumulations of fibrin on the visceral pleural surfaces and also on the pleural aspect of the pericardium. There was a moderate excess (pleural cavity half filled) of slightly turbid fluid and focally extensive well demarcated red-purple slightly dry areas on cut surfaces of the lung tissue particularly on the dorsal aspect of the caudal lung lobes. Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae was isolated, however, in the two pigs submitted, there was no evidence of underlying PCV2 involvement, PRRSv PCR on the spleen was negative and swine influenza virus was not isolated. The problem has persisted on the unit causing significant losses and has extended to include respiratory disease and wasting in younger pigs. Submission of a batch of three freshly dead or euthanased typical cases, early in the course of disease, was recommended to investigate further whether there is underlying viral disease.

In another case, the carcasses of two dead 12- to 14-week-old crossbred pigs were submitted for post-mortem examination with a history of being found dead, with pigs in the group having poor body condition and loose faeces. A total of 20 out of 160 animals had died in one group. Historically, there had been problems with Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (APP). On post-mortem examination there was evidence of severe pneumonia. This was thought to be the primary cause of the wasting and death. Bacterial cultures yielded APP and Pasteurella multocida. No Mycoplasma or Histophilus organisms were isolated on enrichment cultures and PCR for PRRSv was negative.

Active swine influenza demonstrated by paired serology and immunohistochemistry Widespread coughing in finishers with 20 per cent morbidity and 10 per cent mortality was investigated by submission of paired sera. In five of 12 pigs sampled there was seroconversion to swine influenza strain H1N2, confirming active swine influenza infection on the unit. It is useful if nasal swabs or carcasses from acute cases are submitted from outbreaks like this to allow monitoring of the swine influenza strains circulating in the field.

Fixed lungs samples were received from two euthanased pigs with a history of respiratory problems in five-week-old pigs with interlobular oedema noted at post-mortem. Immunohistochemistry, which showed specific labeling in the lung tissue, confirmed acute swine influenza. Ideally we prefer to do virus isolation on fresh tissue but in this case no suitable material was submitted.

PCVAD manifesting as respiratory disease
A group of 18 30kg pigs aged between eight and 12 weeks were purchased for rearing on a unit that had had no pigs on site since May 2008. The pigs had been on the premises for 10 days when one became lethargic, wasted and died. Some diarrhoea was noted in the group and there was a further pig with general malaise. The health status and vaccinal status of the source herd was not known. The submitted pig was approximately 14-weeks-old. At necropsy there was a severe pleuropneumonia with Pasteurella multocida and Mycoplasma hyorhinis detected in the lung. Immunohistochemistry showed active PCV-2 infection in lymph node and lung which may account for the overwhelming infection with Pasteurella multocida. Although the submitted pig was not scouring, Brachyspira pilosicoli was isolated from the large intestine and may account for the diarrhoea seen in the rest of the group. Swine influenza virus and PRRSv were not detected.

Systemic Diseases
Erysipelas: lameness in growing pigs and septicaemia in breeding boar
Lameness affecting weaners was investigated in a 100 sow farrow to finish unit. This was a newly established herd and the problem had started approximately one-month previously. The animals were reported to walk stiffly. The hind limbs were mainly affected and there had also been a decrease in growth rate. Two animals were culled for examination. Excess cloudy fluid was present in the main joints of both the fore and hind limbs and synovial membranes were inflamed. Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae was isolated from affected joints of both pigs.

Also this month, the carcasses of seven pigs, aged 15 to 19 weeks old from a finishing unit were submitted for necropsy examination. There had been a gradual increase in lameness, especially hind limb, and increases in carcase condemnation due to polyarthritis. In the older animals there was some respiratory distress and weight loss. At necropsy, three older animals had a vegetative valvular endocarditis along with fibrinous pericarditis and passive congestion in the liver, consistent with heart failure. In the younger animals there was a fibrinous polyarthrosynovitis. Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae was cultured from both the heart valves of the older animals and a joint in the younger animals.

In a different case, a replacement boar that had been purchased two weeks previously and put into an outdoor quarantine unit was found dead. E. rhusiopathiae was identified as the cause of death as it was isolated from systemic sites. It was reported that this animal had already been vaccinated against Erysipelas three times. The private veterinary surgeon was worried about strain divergence from the vaccinal strains. An isolate has been submitted to the National Veterinary Institute in Denmark for confirmation of serotype.

Septicaemia due to Streptococcus suis serotype 1
The death of a two-week-old piglet submitted for post mortem examination was due to Streptococcus suis 1 infection. The owner had three Large White sows and two had recently farrowed. Clinical signs were lethargy, dyspnoea and death within 12 hours and three piglets from one litter of 11 had died. There were haemorrhages throughout the lungs of both pigs and fibrin tags over the abdominal viscera. Streptococcus suis 1 was isolated in septicaemic distribution from one of two piglets received. The other carcass was autolysed which is likely to have resulted in the failure to isolate S. suis. The sows recently moved from a building with an earth floor to a concrete floored building. They were not receiving any iron supplementation and it was thought that iron deficiency could have been a predisposing factor. S. suis 1 causes septicaemia in piglets, usually younger than three 3 weeks of age.

Necrotic myositis cause by Clostridium novyi
A prize two-year-old outdoor boar was found dead one morning. The owners reported slight inappetence the previous night. The most striking finding was the advanced state of decomposition of the carcass, with gas bubbles in the liver and spleen. Other post mortem findings included generalised redness of the carcass (congestion) and randomly distributed haemorrhages in the muscles, predominantly around the head, neck and forelimbs. Given the rapid autolysis, involvement of clostridial infections was considered and further investigated. Fluorescent antibody testing of the muscle for C. novyi, C. septicum and C. chauvoei was performed. A strong positive result for C. novyi in the light of absent C. septicum and C. chauvoei was considered significant. Disease caused by C. novyi has been associated with sudden death (usually sporadic) in large fattening pigs and sows, although the exact pathogenesis is uncertain.

One of the most frequent post mortem findings is the 'Aero' chocolate or foam rubber appearance of the liver. Vaccination with a multivalent clostridial vaccine is effective at preventing losses.

Septic arthritis associated with Haemophilus parasuis and Streptococcus suis serotype 16
Three two- to three-week-old piglets were submitted to investigate a problem of joint-ill developing at that age in pre-weaning piglets. Initially, single joints were affected with very little lameness. This would however, rapidly worsen with spreading to other joints and with severe lameness if left untreated. The post-mortem investigation confirmed the presence of purulent joint-ill in two of the piglets and evidence of septicaemia, pneumonia and polyserositis in the third. Cultures revealed pure growths of Streptococcus suis type 16 in two of the piglets and Haemophilus parasuis (aetiological agent of Glässer's disease) in the third piglet. Streptococcus suis type 16 is a more unusual cause of systemic disease in pigs. Human cases with this bacteria have been reported in South East Asia and the private veterinarian was made aware of the zoonotic potential of this organism.

Wasting and sudden deaths caused by co-infection with PRRSv and untypeable Streptococcus suis
The carcasses of four 14-week-old finishing pigs were submitted with a history of sudden death following a period of wasting. There was a concern that PMWS might be involved in this problem, as this has been previously diagnosed on the unit and despite the use of a PCV2 vaccine, there were concerns that pigs might have been missed. There was also a history of an ongoing Salmonella problem. Post-mortem examination revealed marked red discolouration of the ears which were also oedematous. There was a polyserositis and all pigs had marked vegetative endocarditis from which an untypeable Streptococcus suis was isolated. In addition, PRRS PCR carried out on samples from two of the pigs was positive in one animal. An overall diagnosis of Streptococcus suis septicaemia complicated by Salmonella in one pig was made with some evidence of the background involvement of PRRS virus.

Systemic disease associated with H. parasuis, PRRSv and Salmonella Typhimurium PT193
Glasser's disease was confirmed as the cause of lameness, coughing, and loss of condition in approximately 15 per cent of 660 seven-week-old weaners, 16 pigs died over three to four days. Pigs were on a continuous indoor nursery-finisher unit taking pigs in from one source with pigs of different ages sharing a common air space. Haemophilus parasuis was isolated from pigs with fibrinous pleurisy, pericarditis and polyarthritis, typical of Glasser's. Active PRRSv infection was also detected by PCR in these pigs and was likely to be of significance in the clinical disease on farm. Two pigs were scouring with colitis and S. Typhimurium phage type 193 was isolated from their intestines.



mikey

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Re: England U.K. Hog News:
« Reply #35 on: April 25, 2009, 10:14:58 AM »
Friday, April 24, 2009Print This Page
NFUS: Action on Pigs Welcome but Not Enough
SCOTLAND, UK - NFU Scotland welcomes the Scottish Government’s reassurances to Scottish pig producers that it is treating the sector as a priority. However, the Union firmly believes that more must be done to ensure the sector’s survival in the long term.

 

Cabinet Secretary spoke of the progress made so far by the Scottish Government in the pig sector, and the challenges that still remain and apologised for the Scottish Government’s ‘inability’ to act on the Pigs Taskforce’s recommendations. He also expressed a request to meet with industry representatives soon.

The meeting was also addressed by Chris Brown, a representative of the Asda supermarket chain, who commented that growing domestic and international markets for pigmeat were leaving Scottish producers increasingly confident about the future.

NFU Scotland’s Pigs Working Group Chairman, Philip Sleigh said, “I am grateful to the Rural Affairs Committee for providing the opportunity to explore, in an official capacity, how Scottish pigs producers can plan for the future with confidence.

Mr Sleigh said he agrees with Messrs Lochhead and Brown that producers are more confident than they were twelve months ago but this respite comes on the back of many years of indifferent returns. What the Rural Affairs Committee didn’t hear was a clear vision for the pig industry in the future that can allow those few hardy souls left keeping pigs in Scotland the opportunity to look to the future, said Mr Sleigh.

“In recent times, pig producers have had to deal with extreme volatility in the cereals market that provides them with feed for their animals. If this level of volatility is repeated in coming years then pig producers could once again struggle to be profitable," continued Mr Sleigh. He said there is still insufficient margin in the production chain to recoup what has been lost in the past and still invest in the necessities, such as slurry storage, in the future. There is no suggestion that this profitable period will continue.

Mr Sleigh said, “In our submission to the Committee, we outlined ways in which we think the government could still help the industry in the long-term. The Cabinet Secretary apologised that the Scottish Government’s was ‘unable’ to act on the Taskforce’s recommendations to make support payments to those keeping pigs. I do not believe that they were unable, rather unwilling, as they did not venture to ask Brussels whether this would be permitted or not. I therefore hope that he will now give further consideration to the measures laid out in our paper. I welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s offer of a meeting at an early opportunity and look forward to fleshing out ideas he has raised and building on our own thoughts."

According to Mr Sleigh, the pig industry is used to the pig cycle to which Asda’s Chris Brown referred, but the troughs are becoming more extended and the peaks are being chopped off. In fact, current profitability owes much to the weak pound and the strong euro rather than low feed prices and supermarket generosity.

"Asda’s opinion that the market signals are good for producers looking to expand is heartening and I would welcome seeing that develop, in conjunction with processors, if there were an assurance of a fair and equitable division of the financial rewards. Those listening to Chris Brown’s presentation may have been given the impression that pig producers receive at least the average pig price, however, my understanding is that that is not the case," concluded Mr Sleigh.





mikey

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Re: England U.K. Hog News:
« Reply #36 on: April 30, 2009, 07:49:02 AM »
Wednesday, April 29, 2009Print This Page
No Evidence of Mexican Influenza in UK Pigs
UK - Human influenza A type H1N1 has been circulating in Mexico since mid-March 2009. It has now spread further.

 

It has been suggested that this strain of influenza virus may have originated from pigs. The virus has not been isolated from pigs and there have been no reports of unusual disease in pig herds.

Speaking to the Newspaper Society at the Palace of Westminster Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said, "The UK and some other members of the European Union undertake routine surveillance to help detect the presence of animal diseases not normally present in the EU and to identify any change in the prevalence of diseases that do occur. Results of our surveillance suggest that this variant of H1N1 does not appear to be present in pigs in the UK or anywhere else in the EU. However we are taking this developing situation very seriously and will maintain our surveillance effort, keeping the public and industry informed of any developments.

"The EU does not import any live pigs or pig products from Mexico, and our risk assessment indicates that there is a negligible likelihood of introducing human influenza strain H1N1 to the UK by the legal import of pigs or pig products from North America.

"As the World Health Organisation has made clear, this situation does not pose a food safety risk to consumers. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is perfectly safe.

"Personal imports of meat are not permitted from Mexico, Canada or the USA, or indeed anywhere outside Europe."


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Re: England U.K. Hog News:
« Reply #37 on: June 28, 2009, 02:05:19 AM »
Some Spot Buyers Went into Reverse
UK - The market tended to move in two directions at once today with the DAPP continuing to improve and now standing at 154.33p, whereas some spot buyers went into reverse and others stood on, writes Peter Crichton.

With DAPP-plus-4p contract prices now worth over 158p, pigs were well supplied in this sector which meant some of the larger operators did not need to venture into the spot market to top up supplies.

Spot buyers were to some extent in retreat, complaining that foreign imports are still undercutting the home market helped by a stronger pound which has pulled the value of the euro back to 85.2p compared with 93p at the end of March.

Any further falls in the value of the euro would do nothing but harm as far as the pig industry is concerned, although some arable farmers might disagree with this with ex-farm feed wheat prices below £100/tonne in some regions compared with £145/tonne a year ago.

Spot bacon quotes fell within a fairly wide range for next week with some of the harder hearted buyers offering 150p, but premiums of 4–6p above this in places although often on a tighter spec, so in net terms there is probably little to choose between the highest and the lowest.

The warmer weather should help to stimulate barbecue demand, although sharply falling lamb prices are proving stiff competition on the fresh meat counters.

One positive point to emerge from Europe is that cull sow prices appear to be on an upward track and nudged ahead again by a couple of pence with most quotes now in the 110–112p region according to specification and load size.

Weaners remain hard to value with supplies well short of demand and as a result the AHDB 30kg ex-farm quote continues to move ahead and now stands at £57.65/head, but the £60 weaner has become a reality in some areas at the better end of the market.

And finally, many in the industry will be sorry to hear that Daniel Day is leaving Vion next week.

Daniel is well known as a fair-minded buyer who all through the dark days of slumping pig prices understood that farmers deserve fair prices if the food industry as a whole really wants a sustainable supply of quality British pigmeat.

We all hope that Daniel will soon find another post within the industry where he will be an asset and he can continue to be involved in an area where he has so much flair.



mikey

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Re: England U.K. Hog News:
« Reply #38 on: July 16, 2009, 08:11:01 AM »
Removing Boar Taint Roulette May Mean Higher Sales
UK - In a survey of attendees at a recent Pig Veterinary Society meeting, 70 per cent claimed they could detect boar taint and 68 per cent agreed with the statement "Boar taint has a negative impact on sales of pork and bacon." Over 50 per cent agreed that "Incidence of boar taint places British product at a disadvantage compared to imported product."


Have British consumers already voted with their feet? wonders vet David Burch. "Statistically, we have the lowest consumption of pork in Europe."

He accepts we won’t go back to castration. "The whole welfare view of castrating piglets in Europe is rapidly changing with the requirement to anaesthetise or offer pain relief as part of the process being adopted.

"But we now have the opportunity in the United Kingdom to solve our boar-taint problems yet maintain most of the advantages of non-castration, by using the new boar-taint vaccine.

"I am not underestimating the labour and cost required to give boars two injections but surely the benefits will make it worthwhile and allow us to build a stronger, sustainable British pig industry for the future."


mikey

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Re: England U.K. Hog News:
« Reply #39 on: July 23, 2009, 06:58:32 AM »
Soil Association Highlights Superbug Threat
UK - The Soil Association is supporting calls from NPA to stop the importation of weaners.



the Association is particularly concerned they would introduce a new strain of MRSA into the country which would have economic consequences for pig producers and make it much more difficult to control the problem of MRSA in the community.

Nearly 40 per cent of Dutch pigs are reported to have MRSA ST398, which can be transmitted to humans. MRSA has become widespread in pigs in many other European countries, including Belgium. This has been encouraged by the fact that the Netherlands exports about 6 million live pigs a year, says the Soil Association:

"The United Kingdom is fortunate in that it does not currently import significant numbers of live pigs from the continent, and its pig herd may therefore be free of MRSA.

"Government scientists completed MRSA testing of British pigs last December, but government has so far failed to release the results, despite requests from the Soil Association."

Research commissioned by the Belgian government has shown 44 per cent of Belgian pigs and 38 per cent of Belgian pig farmers are already carriers of MRSA. In Britain, just three cases of MRSA ST398 are known to have occurred in humans, but in the Netherlands the strain already accounts for about 30 per cent of all human MRSA infections.


mikey

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Re: England U.K. Hog News:
« Reply #40 on: July 24, 2009, 07:39:07 AM »
NADIS Veterinary Report & Forecast - July 2009
UK - This is a monthly report from the National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS), looking at the data collected from their UK farm inspections.

 

As part of the NADIS surveillance system, pig farm health and productivity is recorded and reported anonymously on a monthly basis. One of the broad parameters measured is pigs reared per sow per year and over the last two years there has been a steady improvement in productivity of surveyed herds, such that the average has risen from around 22.5 to 23.5 pigs per sow per year – a 4.5 per cent improvement (graph 1). Strangely, whilst the trend has been upwards over the full two years, there was a sharp decline this Spring (most recent three month average), which requires further investigation.


Easier to explain is the peak seen through the summer of 2008 (3 periods over 24 pigs per sow per year) with a tail off towards the end of the year as the effects of seasonal infertility in summer/autumn work their way through to farrowings.

Over the last 18 months, of course, PCV2 vaccines have been used on some farms and a separation of specific populations reveals an improvement in vaccinated herds (23 to 24 pigs per sow per year) but a more uneven picture in unvaccinated herds (graph 2).


This improvement is broadly consistent with the figures produced from the BPEX PCV2 research programme recently published, both for the large number of subsidised herds and the specific Leeds trial.

See: BPEX studies on PCV2 vaccines

From the NADIS figures it is also a little surprising that breeder/feeder farms achieve the best productivity, compared to breeder/weaner or breeder only farms. A widely held view is that the pure breeder producer, without finishing pigs to distract him, can concentrate on sow productivity and achieve better results. In the sample population this is not the case (graph 3).


There is also a steady increase in output as herd size increases with herds of 300-700 sows being the most productive (graph 4). The larger herds suffer a fall off in output within the surveyed population.


There is a marked difference in productivity between indoor and outdoor herds with the latter under performing the former by around 8 per cent (graph 5). Given that outdoor herds tend to be breeder or breeder/weaner farms, this may underlie the observations in graph 3 above.

Sows on slats outperform those on straw by over 1.5 pigs reared per sow per year in this population, which again may be influenced by the indoor/outdoor effects.


Again, possibly surprisingly, there is very little difference between batch and continuous (weekly) production despite the advantage of the batch producer being able to concentrate staff efforts on serving and farrowing/piglet rearing at different times.

Despite the concentration of outdoor herds in East Anglia, there is no regional difference in productivity reported for the two main pig-keeping areas (graph 6).


Recording and reporting needs to continue to be able to monitor long term trends, particularly given the role of Circovirus vaccination which would be expected to control breeding herd disease where this virus is implicated.



mikey

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Re: England U.K. Hog News:
« Reply #41 on: August 02, 2009, 07:59:32 AM »
United Kingdom Pig Meat Market Update - July 2009
Tony Fowler, senior economic analyst with AHDB Meat Services Economic and Policy Analysis Group, explains the latest trends in pig production in the UK and European Union.

 

UK Prices
Pig meat prices continued to strengthen during June, although at a declining rate. In the week ended 27 June, the DAPP averaged 154.6p/kg dw, which represented an increase of 16 per cent compared with a year earlier but was just 2p higher than at the end of May.


Relatively tight supplies and good domestic demand for pork relative to other red meats are continuing to underpin the market. But a recovery in the value of sterling on the foreign exchange markets is likely to limit any further price improvements because it is leading to lower import prices in UK terms and higher export prices. Increasing imports of Dutch and Belgian pig meat have been reported as a result of the currency changes.


Most sow meat produced in the United Kingdom is exported. Since the start of May, sow prices have therefore fallen back due to the recovery in the sterling exchange rate. In the week ended 27 June the price averaged 109p, about 12p less than the peak 2009 level seen in mid-April.

A shortage of weaner availability, due in part to reduced supplies arising from infertility problems last summer, and improved finished pig prices have been reflected in higher prices on the weaner market this year. The 30kg weaner price increased weekly between December 2008 and June 2009 and in the week ended 4 July averaged £57.78/head, £14 more than at the beginning of 2009. Weaner prices are now showing a steadier tone; this partly reflects the finished pig market but is also because the impact of the summer infertility problem has now passed.
EU Prices and Exchange Rates
The average European pig price dipped in the first half of May, primarily due to declines in the German and Dutch prices. Some of this may have been in response to a temporary fall in consumer demand as a reaction to Swine Flu. Prices began to increase in the second half of the month, fuelled by warmer weather and increased barbecue demand. Further price increases were recorded in June, with seasonally stronger demand and reductions in numbers of pigs on offer in some countries. Pig meat production levels were also hit by reported falls in carcase weights in some countries, France in particular.


Export business was also reported to be brisk, with a strong demand for live pigs from eastern Europe.


In the week ended 28 June the EU-27 reference price averaged five per cent more than four weeks earlier, with particularly marked increases recorded in southern European countries. The overall price was six per cent lower than a year earlier in Euro terms but, due to the decline in the sterling exchange rate, was up one per cent in sterling terms.

Exchange rate markets are continuing to be an important driver in UK and European pig meat markets. Sterling fell sharply against both the Euro and the US dollar in the first quarter of 2009, but it has shown a significant recovery since April. The Pound has been buoyed by some recent data suggesting that the UK recession is easing and that consumers are more positive. In the middle of June the sterling exchange rate reached a seven-month high against the Euro and an eight-month high against the US dollar.

UK Slaughterings and Production
UK clean pig slaughterings totaled 674,000 in May, which was virtually the same as in the corresponding month a year ago. Average weekly throughput in May, at 168,000, was little changed compared with April and in fact has been relatively stable since February. The impact of the still-declining breeding herd in the second half of last year has been offset by an increase in apparent sow productivity. Slaughter levels in May implied a five per cent increase in productivity compared with a year earlier.

Provisional estimates for June suggest that slaughterings were six per cent higher than a year earlier, although this partly reflects relatively low throughputs in June 2008.


Looking forward, the more stable breeding herd together with continued improvements in sow productivity are likely to mean that clean pig slaughterings in the second half of 2009 will rise above year earlier levels.
Feed Prices
USDA June forecasts indicate that global wheat production is projected to reach 656 million tonnes in 2009/10, down from the 658 million tonnes forecast in May. This is down 26 million tonnes from the record 2008/09 figure but is still significantly higher than in the preceding two seasons.


Unfavourable dry, hot weather across Europe has led to reducing EU grain production expectations. EU-27 production in 2009/10 was forecast in June at 136 million tonnes (May forecast = 138 million tonnes), down 10 per cent from 2008/09. However EU production will still be well above the 120 million tonnes produced in 2007/08 when feed prices rose sharply.


The UK delivered feed wheat price continued to increase during May; in the week ended 29 May it reached £121/tonne. However, despite EU crop forecasts being revised downwards, prices moved sharply lower during June. This was partly due to the strengthening of sterling. By the week ended 26 June the feed wheat price, in East Anglia, was down to £101/tonne, 36 per cent lower than a year earlier.


Futures market prices also moved lower in June. The LIFFE futures market indicates higher prices from this year’s harvest, although prices should remain well below the record levels of 2007-08. The November 2009 futures price is currently £114/tonne while May 2010 is £121.


In the United Kingdom, soya prices have been at near record high levels, at over £300/tonne since the beginning of 2009. Soya meal (ex-mill, Liverpool) averaged £315/tonne in the week ended 26 June, £6 less than a year earlier.

mikey

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Re: England U.K. Hog News:
« Reply #42 on: August 02, 2009, 08:01:54 AM »
A Spluttering Trade
UK - Spot sellers found out who their friends were (and were not) today with some of the warmer-hearted buyers prepared to hold prices at similar levels to last week, but others determined to clip 2–4p off last week’s falling quotes, writes Peter Crichton.

The sputtering spot trade has finally filtered through to the DAPP which for almost the first time since the start of the year took a downward step and is now quoted at 155.08p compared with 155.57p.

With Tulip, Vion and Cranswick all keeping producers tied to contract numbers and in certain cases cutting these back by 10 percent, more pigs became available onto a generally lacklustre spot market where demand for loins in particular has been hit by the lack of good barbecue weather and stocks are starting to build up.

The leg trade on the other hand (pardon the pun) is reported to be reasonably firm, although imports remain a threat with the euro easing in value trading on Friday at 85.5p compared with 86.4p a week ago.

Ladbrokes have stopped taking bets on when the first processor refers to the end of August “short week”, but it is only a matter of time before that is brought into play as well!

As a result of all these factors spot bacon was generally traded in the 142–146p range according to specification, but those producers selling on DAPP-related contracts are advised to keep these locked away in a safe place until the autumn.

The sow market is also showing signs of slight weakening, although by the end of Friday most bids were at generally reluctant stand on levels and 114p remains a realistic average with the usual premiums available for larger loads and numbers still on the tight side.

Weaner prices are also starting to see the effect of easier spot prices and the AHDB 30kg ex-farm average has lost a little more ground and now stands at £56.16/head, although with difficult harvesting weather and feed wheat now quoted on an ex-farm basis at little more than £90/t, opportunities are available for buyers with strong nerves (and bank accounts) to earn a useful margin selling weaners bought today in the autumn when demand normally improves.

No reports yet of any “cheap” weaners mingling with tourists at the Channel ferry ports, but repeating last week’s theme most responsible pig finishers will realise that the risks greatly outweigh the rewards, and let’s hope it stays that way.


mikey

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Re: England U.K. Hog News:
« Reply #43 on: August 11, 2009, 08:39:51 AM »
A Chill Wind Blew Through the Spot Market
UK - Although DAPP held at an almost identical level of 155.09p, spot buyers were thin on the ground and something of a two tier trade has developed, writes Peter Crichton in his Traffic Lights commentary.



As a result most contract bacon pigs were traded in the 156–160p range on a DAPP base plus bonuses and something of a chill wind blew through the spot market where quotes tended to be between 142–145p with some regional variations, but much more of a buyer’s than a seller’s market.


Beef and lamb prices have recovered significantly, which is a good sign for the industry as a whole, but the value of the euro has slipped a shade closing on Friday at 85.1p compared with 85.6p a week earlier.

Most of the action was seen in the British cull sow market where a shortage of numbers rather than better European prices helped to maintain values which had earlier been predicted to fall.

Sellers with large loads could command prices of circa 116p/kg with all three cull sow abattoirs looking for extra throughput, but not always finding it.

The weaner market however continues to come under pressure reflecting a lack of finishing space and some unease over finished pig prices this autumn, especially if sold on the spot market.

The latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm weaner average has slipped again and now stands at £55.86/head, despite falling grain prices which should greatly improve finishers’ margins.

Now that the combines are rolling in many parts of the country grain stores are starting to fill with feed wheat, which was reported to be trading between £85-£90/t compared with £111/t twelve months ago.

I remember in my early days in the livestock market an elderly farmer coming up to me to say that "one day young man the pig industry will be just like the chicken industry." At that stage most of the poultry industry had already fallen into a few large hands and there were few smaller independent growers or processors.

This was a time when there were a lot of small and medium-sized pig abattoirs throughout the country and the same applied to producers.

Sadly this prediction has proved to be right and we can now count on the fingers of one hand the number of major pig processors and the same applies to the big supermarkets who are their customers.

Any further loss of competition within the slaughtering sector would spell nothing but bad news for the industry as a whole, which is why every section of the supply chain needs to make a margin, but not at the expense of the other links in this chain. Food for thought!


mikey

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Re: England U.K. Hog News:
« Reply #44 on: August 17, 2009, 10:45:57 AM »
Processors Under Pressure
According to Peter Crichton, although some of us can be quick to blame abattoirs for dropping prices, a longer harder look at the processing and retail sector comes up with some of the reasons why prices are easing despite supplies remaining fairly tight.




Retailers are in strong competition with each other with strap lines such as “every little helps” and other references to how much cheaper they are than their competitors.

In order to preserve their margins retailers find it easier to pay less rather than charge more and it is the primary producer (the pig farmer) who is paying the price for this.

We are also faced with the situation where “less is less” rather than “less is more”. There are now just four large mainstream supermarkets: Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury’s. Most of their fresh United Kingdom pork is supplied by just four large slaughterers: Vion, Tulip, Cranswick and Woodhead.

As a result if just one big retailer cuts its orders or prices by a few percent this has a major effect on both values and supplies.

This week has seen all the big players in the slaughtering sector keeping contract numbers tight with some pigs being rolled and spot buyers sticking to regulars only.

With the upcoming bank holiday a couple of weeks away it may take a couple of weeks into September before the weights and numbers go down, the schools are back and we can hope for more of a seller’s market to emerge.

The DAPP took its first significant downward step this week falling by 0.67p to 154.42p and the signs are that this pattern may be repeated again in the weeks ahead, especially if weights and probes continue to rise due to reduced slaughterings.

Spot prices today tended to be circa 140p for heavies on a 14 probe with up to 144p available on a slightly tighter spec. This is by no means a disaster for mid August and other positive signs were that some of the smaller fresh meat wholesalers were looking for slightly better numbers at a time when beef and lamb have both moved up in value.

Another positive factor is that the value of sterling has eased very slightly and the euro closed worth 86.1p on Friday compared with 85.6p a week ago.

Despite falling pig prices cull sow values are holding firm with smaller lots traded at 112p and big loads worth 116p-plus in some regions.

The weaner market is certainly feeling the effect of easier finished pig prices, partly due to the fact that quite a few spot weaner buyers are also selling onto the spot finished pig market, which has seen returns dip by circa £10/pig since early summer.

As a general rule 30kg spot weaner prices tended to be in the £54-£56/head range, but contract quotes more closely related to the DAPP were £2-£4 ahead of this with premiums also available for Freedom Food weaners.



 

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