The devastating porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) is sweeping across the country, killing millions, pushing pork prices higher and leaving the industry in search of solutions.
Though no commercially available vaccine exists at this time, Westfield Insurance is reporting a few ways producers can mitigate risk, especially in regards to limiting exposure during transport. Follow these three tips to avoid unintentionally spreading this disease:
1. Use disposable boots to your advantage when loading and unloading pigs from the truck to buying stations and back to your farm.
2. Be careful with truck washes, as they can be inadequate as a thorough cleanser. Be sure to spray with disinfectant after, and dry the truck at 160 degrees for 10 minutes or one week at room temperature. This will ensure that the truck has been properly cleaned and disinfected.
3. Take caution in convenience stores near hog-selling locations, and remember that the PED virus can be picked up and transported through your shoes to your livestock at home.
Meantime, the National Pork Board has announced that more than $1 million in funding has been earmarked toward stopping the spread of PEDV.
"This has become one of the most serious and devastating diseases our pig farmers have faced in decades," says Karen Richter, a Minnesota producer and president of the National Pork Board. "While it has absolutely no impact on food safety, it has clear implications for the pork industry in terms of supplying pork to consumers. Our No. 1 priority is to address PEDV."
Purdue University Extension economist Chris Hurt adds that it has been difficult to sort out what losses this winter were caused by PEDV and what should instead be attributed to harsh winter conditions. This has fueled uncertainty in the market, he says.
"Hog prices and lean futures are expected to remain unsettled and potentially very volatile over the spring and summer," he says.