NHF: Coping with shortage of vitamins A and E in swine diets

This month, the swine nutritionist team at the University of Minnesota share in the National Hog Farmer, how to cope with the shortage of vitamins A and E in swine diets.

Usually, vitamins A and E are added to swine diets at up to 4 times the recommendation made by the National Research council. This is due in part to the variability of requirements in swine. However, a system-wide approach could help the industry to cope with the increase in price and the limited supply.

A wide range of alternatives are proposed to make up for the shortage:

  • Rely on body reserves
  • Add ingredients with high levels of vitamins
  • Remove vitamins A and E from finishing diets 35 days before harvest (it has no effect on their performances)
  • Minimize storage time to avoid degradation
  • Avoid low-quality oils to increase vitamin E absorption by the liver
  • Polyphenols and carotinoids can be used as alternatives
  • Strategically use injectable form

In addition to those strategies, farm personnel needs to be vigilant and look for signs of deficiency like impaired reproductive performances and Mulberry Heart Disease.

Alternatives to vitamin A and E in swine diets.jpg

Science Page: Foreign animal disease and Secure Pork Supply: the importance of a Premises Identification Number

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

This week, the MSHMP team in collaboration with Dr. Marie Culhane shares why having a Premises Identification Number (PIN) is important in the context of Secure Pork Supply.

Key Points:

  • In the event of a Foreign Animal Disease outbreak it is required for all swine premises to have a Premises Identification Number
  • Having correct location data associated with PINs is imperative for responding to an FAD at a farm or large scale level
  • Validating and correcting information associated with PINs is an important step in FAD preparedness

What is a PIN?

A federal swine Premises Identification Number (PIN) is a unique, seven character ID, allocated to a premises where swine are produced, kept or moved through.The PIN is a key component in identifying and tracking swine as they move through the United States.The USDA APHIS PIN allocator generates a PIN once a premise has been registered through a state’s animal health official.

What is it used for?

PINs are essential for continuity of business (COB) during a Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) event.Any premises wishing to move pigs during an FAD event must have a PIN.

Unfortunately, there are two common problems in the industry, creating poor PIN information:

  • incorrect address linked to a site
  • two  geographically distinct sites sharing the same PIN

It is important to find and correct these or other issues that are identified for an existing
PIN. An easy way to identify issues is to validate the locations associated with aPIN using a mapping site such as Google Maps to check the accuracy of the address and coordinates.

To correct these errors it will be necessary to apply for a new PIN via the state’s animal health official.



Best of Leman 2017 series #4: P. Thomas – Antibiotic Injection of Piglets

We launched a new series on the blog in October. Once a month, we are sharing with you a presentation given at the 2017 Allen D. Leman swine conference, on topics that the swine group found interesting, innovative or that lead to great discussions.

Our fourth presentation is by Dr. Pete Thomas from Iowa Select Farms on antibiotic injection of piglets, how it needs both veterinary oversight and justification of use but also how we need to re-evaluate its necessity regularly.

To listen to this talk, please click on the picture below.




Science Page: 2017 summary of the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project

diagram MSHMP This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

Key points:

  • We will remember 2017 for the loss of Dr. Morrison, in whose honor the program us now named. Dr. Andres Perez led the transition of the program and now Dr. Corzo, the new Leman Chair in Swine health and Productivity is leading the project.
  • MSHMP acknowledges and thanks all participants for their willingness to share their data to support the US industry.
  • The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) has been instrumental for the execution of this project.

Four new participants joined MSHMP increasing the representativeness of the project by adding 64 sow farms accounting for 220,000 sows.
The weekly report capturing the changes in incidence and prevalence of important pathogens has been shared to participants (n=33) and non-participants (n=185). Now we report on PRRS, PEDv, SVA and novel viruses associated with atypical central nervous system disease.
The weekly science page featured authors from 18 institutions who explained cutting edge research findings, recent publication summaries, and breakdowns of MSHMP data.

Take a look at the report to see the 6 peer-reviewed publications generated thanks to this collaborative work.

The emergence and evolution of influenza A (H1α) viruses in swine in Canada and the United States

Today, we are sharing a recent publication on swine influenza in the Journal of General Virology. Dr. Marie Culhane from the University of Minnesota collaborated on this study of the genetic diversity of swine viruses in Canada and how it influences the strains found in the US.

The final data set included:

  • 168 genomes from Canadian swine influenza A viruses,
  • 5 genomes from highly under-represented US states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland and Montana),
  • 648 genomes from US and Canadian swine influenza A viruses (GenBank).

In total, these data represented 29 US states and 5 Canadian provinces.

Genetic diversity of influenza A viruses

In Canada, H1α viruses were the most frequently identified H1 viruses. In contrast, H1α viruses died out long ago in US herds, and have only been identified sporadically following new viral introductions from Canada. Notably, the two dominant H1 viruses in the United States, H1γ and H1δ-1, were not observed in any Canadian province during 2009–2016. In contrast to H1, H3 viruses are found in both the United States and Canada, with evidence of frequent cross-border transmission.

Sources of viral diversity

The study shows that the source of influenza viruses is aligned with pig movements. Indeed, Iowa and Minnesota receive around 87% of Manitoba swine exports. Therefore, the patterns of swine influenza viruses in those 2 US states correlate with the ones in Manitoba.

Similarly, viral gene patterns found in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, or Ohio are influenced by the ones found in Ontario. Indeed, it only takes 3 hours to transport pigs from Ontario to Michigan. However, North Carolina and Virginia are the largest source of viruses for this region.


Left: Each region is shaded according to the proportion of total ‘Markov jump’ counts from that particular region into the Heartland: red, high proportion of jumps, important source of viruses; light yellow, low proportion of jumps, not an important source of viruses; black, destination. Right: US states are shaded according to the number of live swine imported from Manitoba in 2015 (per 1000 head)


Swine are a key reservoir host for influenza A viruses (IAVs), with the potential to cause global pandemics in humans. Gaps in surveillance in many of the world’s largest swine populations impede our understanding of how novel viruses emerge and expand their spatial range in pigs. Although US swine are intensively sampled, little is known about IAV diversity in Canada’s population of ~12 million pigs. By sequencing 168 viruses from multiple regions of Canada, our study reveals that IAV diversity has been underestimated in Canadian pigs for many years. Critically, a new H1 clade has emerged in Canada (H1α-3), with a two-amino acid deletion at H1 positions 146–147, that experienced rapid growth in Manitoba’s swine herds during 2014–2015. H1α-3 viruses also exhibit a higher capacity to invade US swine herds, resulting in multiple recent introductions of the virus into the US Heartland following large-scale movements of pigs in this direction. From the Heartland, H1α-3 viruses have disseminated onward to both the east and west coasts of the United States, and may become established in Appalachia. These findings demonstrate how long-distance trading of live pigs facilitates the spread of IAVs, increasing viral genetic diversity and complicating pathogen control. The proliferation of novel H1α-3 viruses also highlights the need for expanded surveillance in a Canadian swine population that has long been overlooked, and may have implications for vaccine design.