Global leaders in the swine industry gathered for two days of discussion on the key issues facing the global pig industry, including the removal of antibiotic growth promotants; risk management; sow productivity; and how to tackle multi-factorial diseases. The entire program can be followed on Alltech’s blog, Innovations. Featured speakers and discussions at the International Forum on Pork Production: A tribute to Dr. Des Cole included:

Joe Kerns, a 25-year veteran of risk management consulting with the International Agribusiness Group, emphasized that we can’t try to outguess the market but need to manage what is controllable – i.e., input costs, which dramatically increased in 2010. Kerns expects prices to continue to climb in 2011, giving further impetus to the need for strong risk management programs.

Dr. Gunner Sorensen with the Pig Research Centre and Danish Agriculture and Food Council addressed the challenge of achieving more than 30 pigs per sow per year. Key points included:

• Maximum sow productivity must start with gilt development.
• Management of sow milk yield is critical if she is to successfully nurse a large litter size. Feed intake is integral in this respect.

Tom Gillespie of Rensselaer Swine Services set forth a plan for achieving optimum health and immunity. Since co-infection is the most common complication in the unit, Gillespie has chosen to focus on the overall health of a unit instead of just one disease. According to Gillespie, key elements of this approach are developing an understanding of both the flow of the target pathogen within the herd and biosecurity issues.

Dr. Bill Close of Close Consultancy spoke on an era of no antimicrobial growth promotants (AGPs). Close explained that the removal of AGPs has led to an increase in AGPs for therapeutic uses. However, this can be overcome with proper management and nutrition. His suggestions included: improving the intake and the quality of the colostrums; correct diet specifications and feed management; use of pro-active ingredients and additives; development of a healthcare and vaccination program; and the practice of good management techniques and a proper environment.

Next year’s conference will be held September 14-16 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Source: Alltech news release