Today’s Heavier Market Weights Pose Pig Health Challenges

Jul 23, 2014

By Jack Creel, D.V.M., senior swine technical services manager for Merck Animal Health

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) is having a significant impact on swine operations across the country, and producers and packers are scrambling to identify ways to make up for losses from the reduced piglet population. Chris Hurt, Ph.D., a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University, explains the current market situation.

“Producers are compensating for the smaller head count with sharp increases in market weights,” said Dr. Hurt. “As producers experience record profits – more than $70 per head on average for the six-month period – they’re also increasing the time pigs stay on feed.”

Today, producers are taking market-ready pigs from recent historical weights of 265 lbs. to as high as 325 lbs.

As producers put more into their finishing groups, late-stage production losses become an even more serious issue, as the value of a pig approaches $300 in today’s market, which is well above the price seen last year. In a barn of 1,000 pigs, if just one 325-lb. pig is saved (with carcass prices at $1.24/lb.), the benefit is nearly $300, or $0.30 per pig for the entire group.

With the threat of increased late-stage mortality, protecting pigs all the way through the finishing phase to market is crucial to the economic success of a producer. Circumvent® G2 is the only vaccine with five-month PCV2 duration of immunity (DOI), which is 25 percent longer than any other PCV2 vaccine on the market. The additional four weeks of immunity that Circumvent G2 vaccination provides means better protection in late stages of production where the loss of pigs approaching market weight can be devastating.

In addition, by effectively controlling circovirus, the pigs in your operation will have a stronger immune system and better defense against co-infections from Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae and swine influenza virus (SIV), which can contribute to late-finishing mortality.

Source: Merck Animal Health

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