A growth of plus 100 grams, when PRRS disappeared

PRRS: Wean to Finish producer Bent Jessen has experienced a significant difference since he got rid of PRRS.


Article by:
Morten Thomsen

Bent Jessen doesn’t hide that the PRRS eradication at Horneland has been a tough time.
The eradication has cost him many working hours and expenses, which he can’t get back.
Still, he is glad and proud that the 10 herds by joint effort have managed to eliminate PRRS in the area.
»I could have continued to PRRS vaccinate the
pigs at the insertion, «he says.
Before the project started, he had for a while vaccinated the purchased weaners against PRRS with a half-dose.
The vaccination gave a boost of 100 grams of weight gain in the finisher unit, but also an annual expense of 80,000 kr. However, all herds are now PRRS-free.
»I've certainly experienced a significant increase in efficiency, « he says and hands over recent E-controls.
In the weaner unit, the mortality is 1.6 percent, the feed consumption is 1.7 FE per kg growth, and the growth is around 550 grams although the weight insertion is only about six kg,
In the finisher unit, there is 1,000 grams of weight gain, 1.5 percent dead/rejected pigs and a feed consumption of 2.66.
»Before, we laid between 2.8 and 2.9 in feed consumption, «he recalls. Before the eradication, he could not get the growth over 900 gram, although he spent many working hours in the pig housing.
47 pairs of rubber boots
Bent Jessen has also learned a lot about internal biosecurity during the eradication.
During the eradication period he purchased no less than 47 pairs of rubber boots and 54 overalls.
Clothes were discarded and replaced with new, when the herd again was declared PRRS-free.
»I would not walk around with a sense that it was such small things that should determine that the operation wouldn’t succeed, « he explains.
Today, there are new internal procedures regarding clothe changes and boot changes at the herd.  For example, today, he always takes a shower between visits at his two finisher units.
Bent Jessen, experienced some frustrations along the way. For example, in the beginning it was said to be sufficient for the sow unit to avoid purchasing for 24 weeks after vaccination of the sows. In practice, it was not sufficient.  The period should perhaps have been 40 weeks. "Tthere were PRRS positive blood tests linked to the pigs I purchased after this period, "he says. Therefore, he emptied his pig houses in the summer of 2014. Yet, there were positive blood tests in September 2014. At that time he was close to giving up, but chose nevertheless to continue the working, and since February, he hasn’t experienced any positive blood tests.
Today, the herd owners at Horneland have some experiences they can pass on to other areas that want to eradicate.
»Let each herd put 10-15,000 kr. in a shared pool. The money should be used if PRRS positive pigs acute have to be moved from the area, « is his advice.
He also recommends an empty pig house outside the area, which is ready to receive PRRS positive pigs.
»If one discovers PRRS positive pigs, one has to act quickly to avoid that they infect others, « he stresses.

The risk of reinfection is
small, but yet present

They only purchase PRRS-negative female pigs at Horneland. There is water on three sides and Faaborg town on the fourth.
On the other side of the town, other pig herds are relatively far away.
Theoretically, PRRS can blow to Horneland from other areas, like it cannot be excluded that finishers are transported through the area.
»Overall, the risk of PRRS coming to Horneland again is small,« explains veterinarian Johannes Dall, Porcus.
If the risk wasn’t small, the eradication would never have been initiated.
900 million kroner to PRRS eradicate the whole country

VSP has recently calculated that it will cost 900 million. kr. to PRRS eradicate the whole country.  With 30 million piglets annually in Denmark, it correlates to costs of 30 kr. per. piglet in one year. 30 kr. is also the price difference between PRRS positive and PRRS negative piglets in some periods.
P. H. Rathkjen, Boehringer Ingelheim, estimates on the background of the experience at Horneland that the process can be done cheaper. »In addition to the vaccination of sows, the costs have first and foremost been linked to increased work load, housing washes and blood tests, « he explains. Although there isn’t composed a financial calculation of the actual costs and benefits of the PRRS eradication at Horneland he does not believe that the cost has been as high as VSP estimates.
»We've got many practical experiences on how a PRRS eradication should be approached,« says P. H. Rathkjen.
Can be done elsewhere
Boehringer Ingelheim has provided technical assistance
and was responsible for the analysis of many blood tests at the eradication.  
»We have learned that we need to take blood tests in all age groups at a herd. Sometimes we found only positive animals in one out of seven teams, « explains veterinarian P. H. Rathkjen, Boehringer Ingelheim. Therefore, herds should not spare on the number of blood tests if they want to eradicate an area.
»A similar PRRS eradication can be done elsewhere in the country, « the veterinarian believes, but he also stresses that there are many obstacles to overcome.
»There are many different attitudes and many different individuals that must go in the same direction at the same time, « says P. H. Rathkjen
At Horneland, all 10 herd owners were able to see the advantage at the same time.