by KATE PROCTER
When a positive porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) test result is confirmed, it can sound like a death knell.
But taking action can reduce the financial impact of the disease while doing nothing can be producers’ most expensive option, reveal the preliminary results of an Ontario Pork Industry Council Swine Health Advisory Board (OSHAB) cost benefit project.
Dr. Doug MacDougald reported the results at Big Bug Day VII, held Dec. 2 in Stratford. The study compared two common intervention strategies in order to determine which provided the most benefit.
Dr. Zvonimir Poljak conducted the detailed comparison of qualifying farms from Ontario and Quebec that had had at least one confirmed PRRS outbreak since 2004. Virus exposure, either via injection or natural exposure, was compared to feeding the drug Pulmotil or doing nothing. Both interventions are commonly used strategies, but this study is the first to compare which is most cost effective.
The net benefit was determined by comparing the number of piglets weaned for 32 weeks after the outbreak, to the average number weaned prior to the outbreak and subtracting the costs associated with the intervention. All piglets were valued at $36. PRRS can affect the number of pigs weaned by reducing litter size and increasing the number of abortions and pre-wean mortality.
Exposing all of the sows in the herd to the PRRS virus after the break resulted in an average increased revenue of $20/sow/outbreak when compared to the herds that took no action. Farms that fed Pulmotil to the gestating sows had an average of $55/sow/outbreak higher revenue than farms that took no action. Farms that exposed the sows to PRRS virus had intervention expenses related to treatment that averaged $2.90/sow/outbreak, while those opting for Pulmotil paid an average of $12.80/sow/outbreak.
Considering that a PRRS outbreak typically costs $80/sow/outbreak, viral inoculation limited this loss to $60/sow/outbreak and use of Pulmotil provided further protection, limiting the loss to $20/sow/outbreak.
OSHAB hopes to continue this work in order to increase the number of farms and improve the data. MacDougald cautions that this study includes a low number of herds and both genetics and management can affect the results. Producers interested in participating in this project can contact Dr. Poljak at email@example.com.
Agricultural Adaptation Council, Ontario Pork, PigChamp and Herdsman sponsored the study. BF