Iowa County joins the growing list of participants in the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome Area Control and Elimination pilot projects.

The Iowa Pork Producers Association and the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine are working to establish the PRRS control project in Iowa County. There are eight “official” PRRS ARCE projects scattered across the United States, and groups in other sectors are considering similar action.

PRRS has been called the most economically important disease in pigs today and it can cost pork producers from $5 to $7 per pig marketed.

Earlier this month, an informational meeting was held for Iowa County pork producers to share research information about the PRRS control project. Officials outlined necessary control actions and area spread issues associated with PRRS in swine herds. Sixteen pork producers attended the meeting and more than 80 percent agreed to continue to develop the project. Iowa County pork producers who didn’t attend the meeting will be contacted in the next few weeks.

Iowa County was selected as the first area in Iowa because of producers’ reputation for being locally active and its mixture of feed-to-finish and farrow-to-finish pork operations. The proposed project area is west and north of Highway 151, to Highway 6 and along Highway 149 as it bisects the county. All commercial pork production sites within the area are to be included in the project.

“Information obtained from this program will provide important and new data regarding PRRS virus movement within an area, as well as impacts of swine movement on that spread,” says James McKean, DVM, at Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Such experiences will be valuable to other Iowa producers and perhaps nationally as other PRRS control and elimination programs are developed.”

The Iowa project has four primary objectives:

  • To demonstrate and develop steps needed to implement a regional PRRS control program.
  • Study the impact of PRRS virus movement within a prescribed area over time.
  • Study the impact of pig movement on the PRRS virus into and within the study area.
  • Reduce the prevalence of the PRRS virus within the selected area.

Iowa State veterinary personnel will manage a biosecurity risk-assessment tool that will be offered to all participating producers in order to better understand the risks associated with PRRS virus movement. Five veterinarians from three local practices have agreed to assist local producers with the PRRS ARCE pilot project.

“This project and the efforts of producers and their veterinarians will help us better understand the PRRS virus and its spread,” says John Weber, IPPA president and a pork producer from Dysart. “IPPA delegates discussed the prospects for such a PRRS program at their annual meeting in January and this project is a result of those discussions.”

The PRRS control project is being partially funded by IPPA, with additional funds being solicited from other interested parties.

For more information, contact McKean at (515) 294-8792.

Source: ISU and IPPA