World Pork Expo is underway in Iowa this week; and, as you would expect, concerns about PEDv is topping the list of concerns of producers gathered there. Losses from the disease continues to mount, and Steve Meyer, with Paragon Economics, says we will see a major market impact this fall, “Most of the heavy death losses occurred in December, January, and February. That means in about six months is when we are going to see a significant drop in slaughter rates.” He told the Iowa AgriBusiness Network at Expo that, so far, slaughter rates have only come down a little, “We were down about 6% in March, about 5% in April, and about 4% in May.” He predicted that much larger reduction will come beginning in August. He added most of the USDA data so far has not really shown the impact of the disease.
Meanwhile, biosecurity at World Pork Expo has been stepped up in light of the uncontrolled spread of PEDv. Mike Paul, with the National Swine Registry, says special precautions have been taken at Expo and will be implemented for all swine shows this year, “Exhibitor’s farms or their farms of origin cannot have had a case of PED within 60 days of coming to an event.” Paul says, while producers are being more cautious, he does not expect participation in livestock shows to decline because of the outbreak, “Being in the livestock industry there are always disease issues that one has to deal with.”
While speaking at World Pork Expo on Thursday, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced funding to help combat Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus. Vilsack also issued a federal order to help combat the significant impact producers are facing due to PEDv and the porcine deltacoronavirus. USDA will use $26.2 million worth of funding for virus control and research and will require the reporting of new detections of the viruses. The National Pork Producers Council urged the funding to go to continued research. NPPC President Howard Hill said, “We’re hopeful the USDA plan will work.”
In the last year, PEDv has killed an estimated 7 million piglets; and, according to Vilsack, the number of market ready hogs could fall more than 10% compared to last year. Vilsack says, “The steps we will take through the federal order will strengthen the response to PEDv and these other viruses and help us lessen the impact to producers.” Of the $26.2 million, $3.9 million will be used by the Agriculture Research Service to develop vaccines and $11.1 million will be used in cost-share funding for producers of infected herds to support biosecurity practices, according to the USDA. The APHIS federal order requires producers, veterinarians, and diagnostic laboratories to report all cases of PEDv and other new swine diseases to USDA and state animal health officials. Full details of the order can be found on the AHIPS website www.aphis.usda.gov.