Porcine Epicemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) will result in additional challenges for everyone involved in agricultural custom work. Awareness, communication and precautionary measures will go a long way in reducing the risk of spreading the virus.
Going into spring planting season requires everyone involved in agricultural operations – including custom manure application, but also custom tillage, planting, nutrient and herbicide applicators – to know about PEDv and how it is spread. PEDv is a devastating disease for pork producers that results in 100 percent mortality of unweaned piglets. A thimble full of manure has enough virus to infect every pig in Ontario, and in cold temperatures (less than 4°C) the virus will persist in the environment for a long period of time.
As a result of the recent introduction of the PEDv to Ontario, pork producers have additional challenges and considerations around farm and barn bio-security, but also around manure application. All pork producers can be impacted by PEDv and are aware of the risks; the appropriate precautions and biosecurity measures. Custom nutrient and herbicide applicators, and those involved in custom operations including tillage and/or planting also need to have an understanding of how this specific virus can be spread through field operations.
The following are suggestions and precautions to prevent spread of PEDv from application of hog manure.
- Communicate with hog producers. If the farm has been infected with the virus, take some additional precautions around scheduling, equipment cleanup and movement to subsequent farms.
- Manure on roadways, barn yards, equipment or clothes can be enough to spread PEDv.
- When visiting a hog farm, change clothes and change/wash or disinfect boots
- Custom applicators should avoid scheduling pig farms one after the other. If possible, schedule operations on livestock farms in rotation (swine, dairy, etc).
- Surface applied manure that is not incorporated is a risk. Domestic animals, wildlife and birds can carry the virus to previously unaffected locations. Custom fertilizer and pesticide applications, tillage and planting equipment can move the virus on tires and dust particles. A heavy rainfall can move the virus with runoff. This risk is higher in areas of closer hog farm proximity and density.
- Consider applying manure inter-row after corn emergence or into other growing crops to take advantage of higher temperatures that reduce the virus lifespan. (warm temperatures and ultraviolet light). In a US study, the virus survived 14 days at 25° C.
- Manure is best incorporated into the soil. Fully cover manure with soil by managing incorporation/injection equipment and application rates to avoid manure boiling up in the injection slot and leaking onto headlands.