Partial depopulation and vaccination programme eliminates PRRS, Enzootic Pneumonia and APP in Aberdeenshire pig herd and Attempted eradication of PRRS virus

1 Nov 2018

A first-generation pig farmer, who introduced the enterprise to his arable farm 20 years ago, Philip carried out
the partial depopulation in order to eradicate a number of diseases. This has been very successful and has significantly reduced the amount of antibiotics used in the unit.

Around 142 hectares of winter and spring barley are grown at Netherton of Mounie, with all of the barley being used in the pig units. Philip said: “Ninety-nine percent of what we sell here is pigs.” The breeding herd of 435 Landrace/Large White sows – with a Danish Duroc boar used as a terminal sire – are kept at Yonderton Farm, Ellon, about 15 miles away from the home farm and all pigs are transferred to Netherton of Mounie for finishing.

However, the buildings at Yonderton for the weaned pigs were badly in need of an upgrade, so five years ago Philip took the opportunity to put all the pigs off the unit at weaning and build a new shed, while refurbishing another.

He decided against a full depopulation, which involves all the pigs leaving the farm, as it would be costly and also create loss of cash flow. He explained: “Retaining the breeding sows meant we did not completely lose our
cash flow during the depopulation period.”

The young pigs were moved off site for eight weeks, while the sows were double vaccinated for Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) and medicated for Enzootic Pneumonia (EP) and Actinobacillus Pleuropneumonia (APP). Meanwhile the finishing unit at Netherton of Mounie was emptied of stock for four weeks, thoroughly cleaned down and double disinfected. The result, according to Philip, has been a real boost in the performance of both the breeding and finishing herds. He said: “Conception rates have improved, as have numbers of piglets born alive, and numbers weaned have risen from around 24/25 to over 30 per sow per year. In the growing herd liveweight gains have improved to 850g/day from weaning to slaughter, while mortality has dropped to under two percent. The pigs are also reaching their finished deadweight of 86/87kg two weeks earlier.”

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