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Pig Farm Perspective
by Bruce the brainy pig
ACCURACY and ap- plication of testing are accelerating at a rate of knots, so what are our current options and what are our future op- tions for herd disease surveillance and detec- tion?
You may have noticed your vet does or definite- ly doesn’t enjoy testing for herd diseases.
The current ways they tend to test include ac- tive collection or passive collection of samples.
Active collection in- cludes blood testing, which is a popular but more labour-intensive sampling method, wherein the pig is snared and blood is taken from the neck of the pig or group of pigs.
The blood is then tested for the presence or absence of antibod- ies and/or DNA of the disease.
Tonsil scraping is also a highly labour-intensive method of sampling pigs.
Agagisusedanda long-handled swab scrapes the tonsil of the snared pig.
Passive sampling can include oral fluids and
faecal pooling; depend- ing on what disease is being investigated.
Collecting oral fluids means a rope is usually hung in a pen of pigs and as the pigs chew on it they deposit saliva.
This saliva is then col- lected (think old wash- ing machine wringer) and the sample is run for detection of DNA of specific diseases.
Faecal pooling in- volves the obvious col- lection of faeces and testing for diseases such as dysentery and ileitis.
So, what are we miss- ing here?
How great would it be to easily detect a disease before animals got sick?
You know those days when it is foggy and you suspect a bout of some- thing nasty is on the way from the neighbour’s piggery?
Well that future is nearly here in the form of air sampling.
What is air testing?
Picture a Ghostbusters- style vacuum cleaner- like device sucking a sample of air through a filter.
The filter is then re-
moved and assessed for DNA consistent with a specific disease.
This technology is cur- rently being tested with aerosolised foot and mouth disease with im- pressive results.
Current studies have found that in some in- stances air sampling has been able to isolate the targeted disease one to two days before tradi- tional methods of oral fluids, clinical signs or in blood, which is a stag- gering leap forward as far as identifying and controlling the spread of an infectious disease before we know we have it and before it is able to spread.
So, what does this mean for the future?
It means there is the potential to sample for other diseases in a simi- lar way.
APP, mycoplasma and circovirus could be de- tected in the air in sheds rather than via oral flu- ids, bleeding or post- mortem analysis of ani- mals and before animals are sick.
ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference
ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, held from May 20-22 in Lexington, Kentucky, will provide those in the pig indus- try with a unique op- portunity to participate in a global conversation about the innovations, challenges and solutions facing their industry.
Focus sessions designed to educate and inspire will allow attendees to gather insights from leading pig experts and exchange ide- as with peers from around the globe.
ONE18 pig topics:
• Pig Powerhouse: What’s Next? Pork is the most widely consumed animal protein in the world. Who are the new players in the market, and what opportunities do producers have to fulfil the growing demand?
• Pleasing Today’s Din- er: Premium Palatability and Quality. Consumers are increasingly con- cerned with the quality of their meat and how it’s produced. What do con- sumers perceive as quality meat? What are the key factors that affect pork quality? Learn what steps you can take to help your
product get to consumers’ dinner tables.
• Life Beyond Vaccines. How can we move beyond vaccines to involve new technologies in the battle against diseases such as PRRS? Can we reach a point in which all viruses are a thing of the past? What genetic potential is unlocked when we live life without viruses?
• ZnO Ban: An Alterna- tive Plan? New zinc oxide regulations are expected to shake up the global pig industry. What are the current inclusion levels? Will this lead to more regulations in the future? Is there an alternative? Here’s what you should know about your options.
• Pig Dilemma: Larg- er Litter, Lower Piglet Quality? Are more pig- lets sustainable? Where is the balance between quantity and quality? With demands on litter rates increasing, it’s even more important for the sow and piglets to receive the nutrition necessary for optimum productivity and quality. Hear from in- dustry experts who will provide solutions to this conundrum.
ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference is the place to learn from and network with some of the brightest stars in business leadership.
This year’s power- packed mainstage will welcome Jack Welch, legendary former chair- man and CEO of Gen- eral Electric, who was named as one of the ‘100 Greatest Living Business Minds’ by Forbes maga- zine in 2017; Dr Rodolphe Barrangou, a professor at North Carolina State University whose research focuses on applications of the revolutionary CRIS- PR-Cas system and its use in food manufacturing; and Prof Robert Wolcott of Northwestern Univer- sity, a contributing writer to Forbes and the author of ‘Grow from Within: Mastering Corporate En- trepreneurship and Inno- vation’.
The Pearse Lyons Ac- celerator program returns to the conference this year and continues to be a launchpad for startup innovators.
Entrepreneurs from around the world will pre- sent their revolutionary ideas in food and ag-tech.
How will the next gen- eration of technology in- fluence your business?
Find out at ONE18.
Now in its 34th year, Alltech’s conference is at- tended annually by nearly 4000 people from over 70 countries.
Whether producers and business leaders are navigating a fundamental change within their indus- try or just need a little inspiration, they’ll learn about real-world oppor- tunities and solutions at ONE18.
Register to attend ONE18 before March 31 at for sav- ings of $400.
Join the conversation with #ONE18 on Twitter, and follow the ONE18 Facebook event page for updates.
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Page 14 – Australian Pork Newspaper, March 2018

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