The first week-end in December is usually the time of the North American PRRS symposium. This year did not upset the tradition but this time, the conference was in collaboration with the National Swine Improvement Federation.
The meeting was dedicated to our friend and colleague Dr. Bob Morrison. A memorial fellowship organized by Dr. Montse Torremorell (U of MN) and Dr. Joan Lunney (USDA) provided travel support to future scientists who wish to follow in his footsteps.
Stephen Gerike from the Pork Checkoff shared information on the state of pork products used in restaurant. Bacon represents 20% of products used but is still growing (+4% since last year).
Overall, 82% of restaurant customers eat the same or larger amount of pork which is a good trend for the industry. Mr. Gerike also shared the efforts done by Pork Checkoff to convince consumers to not overcook their pork. Reminder: 145F is safe. “Cook your pork like you cook your steak!”
The University of Minnesota was well represented during the conference. Dr. Montse Torremorell moderated the Saturday morning session on PRRS in the field. Drs. Cesar Corzo, Carles Vilalta and Juan Sanhueza shared the updates on the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Program as well as regarding the studies that they are involved with. Take away messages:
- MSHMP is now collecting information from 50% of the sows in the United States.
- Based on this data, 58% of the farms breaking with PRRSV today will break again within a year.
- PRRS summer outbreaks happen and vary based on location (see figure below).
- Farms take a longer time to reach stability after a summer outbreak (median 41.5 weeks)
- Processing fluids can be used as a monitoring method for PRRS.
Dr. Perle Boyer shared the launching of an online course designed in collaboration with Iowa State University regarding genetic resistance to PRRSV. The course will be open in Spring 2018 and is designed for swine health professionals, veterinarians and experts who want to know more about the Principles and application of genetics and genomics to improve animal health.