Since it was first identified in the United States last May, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) has created significant losses to some pork producers in many parts of the country. Manure is a primary way the virus spreads from pig to pig and from farm to farm. On some sow farms, the virus has caused mortality rates in young pigs of up to 100 percent.
To help reduce the risk posed by PEDV-infected manure, veterinarians and university experts working with the Pork Checkoff, the National Pork Producers Council and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians have created a set of guidelines for producers and commercial manure haulers.
"We know this virus is easily spread to uninfected pigs and clean farms by infected manure," said Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology for the Pork Checkoff. "As we enter the fall manure-application season, it's a particularly critical time to follow a strict set of steps to help prevent the spread of this costly virus."
The new guidelines (available at www.pork.org/pedv) are specifically offered for producers, commercial or other manure haulers who travel from one farm to the next, and during land application of the manure.
Both producers and haulers should know where the transport crew has been prior to coming onto a new farm. In addition, farms should have a clearly defined entrance and exit strategy to minimize cross-contamination with other farm traffic and maintain a distinct "line of separation" between haulers, their equipment and the animals and workers on the farm site.
Sundberg adds that separating manure-hauling equipment and personnel from animals and farm workers - as well as limiting on-farm movement patterns - have proven to be critical in avoiding potential PEDV transmission via manure to an uninfected farm.
"The cornerstone of the new manure-handling guidelines is communication between the manure hauling crew and farm managers and workers," Sundberg said. "If we are to be successful in reducing the spread of PEDV, all workers must follow biosecurity procedures by respecting this line of separation."
"The collaboration between producers and haulers will set a new standard for our industry," said Karen Richter, president of the National Pork Board and a pork producer from Montgomery, Minn. "We now have a solid set of guidelines in reducing the risk of further spread of PEDV, and I hope everyone will immediately take advantage of this good work."
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health, pork safety and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or check the Internet at www.pork.org.