The 2017 Allen D. Leman swine conference celebrated Bob Morrison’s legacy

The 2017 edition of the Allen D. Leman swine conference held in St. Paul, MN will be remembered as a special one : a tribute to our dear friend and colleague Dr. Bob Morrison whose untimely passing earlier this year stunned the swine world.

Bob was a dedicated advocate for the swine industry, passionate about doing relevant work that will help producers. Man of the utmost integrity, he was a leading force in our world, striving to get better every single day. Bob was also the coordinator of the Allen D. Leman swine conference for many years and even if he was not seen walking down the hallways of the St. Paul RiverCentre, his presence was heavily felt throughout the four days of the conference. Around 1,000 participants gathered from all around the world to attend this annual event designed to provide science-driven solutions to problems encountered on swine farms.

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At the opening of the conference, both Dr. Trevor Ames, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota and Dr. Gordon Spronk, lifelong friend of Bob,  honored Bob’s memory and urged the swine industry to continue his legacy.

On Monday, Gary Louis and Dr. Luc Dufresne from Seaboard Foods gave a keynote lecture on their perspective of what it means to pursue initiatives for the greater good as an integrator whereas Dr. Bob Thompson received the Leman Science in Practice award and shared his experience and advice with young practitioners during the Breakfast Conversations. A lot of high quality research posters were displayed during the reception sponsored by Tonisity and some of our graduate students were among the six selected as best poster presentations.

The new DVM student session showed us that the next generation of veterinarians is curious, passionate about the swine industry and eager to solve its challenges. We will continue this session and enhance it with the creation of the Morrison Swine Innovator Prize which was unveiled during the Science in Practice reception sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.

On Tuesday, the keynote session was centered around coopetition, or the act of cooperating with your competitors as Rebecca Liu from Lancaster University explained. Dr. Noel Williams from Iowa Select Farms and Dr. Joel Nerem from Pipestome Systems both gave their perspective on how coopetition works in the swine world. One of the example mentioned was the Morrsion Swine Health Monitoring Program (MSHMP), a project Bob was passionate about, which allows producers to share information such as disease status and work together towards better swine health for all participants.

Most importantly, we would like to thank all of you for your continuing support. The Allen D. Leman swine conference would not exist without you and we hope to see you next year: September 15-18, 2018.

Science Page: Leman swine conference – A tribute to Dr. Bob Morrison

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.

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The Allen D. Leman swine conference starts tomorrow!
This year’s Leman Conference will be a Tribute to Bob and what he did during his career and his continuation of the goals upon which Al Leman first founded the conference.
His drive for holistic improvement rather than individual aggrandizement can be seen reflected in session titles like, “Lesson’s From Dr. Morrison: Focus on Work that Matters”, and “Bob Morrison’s Legacy: Applying a Collaborative Approach in a Competitive Industry”.

Bob pushed himself and those around him to do “work that matters”, display integrity, and focus on the industry as a whole. The Leman Conference is an actualization of these values.

Read the entire tribute here.

How much floor space does a pregnant sow need in a group-housing system with electronic sow feeders?

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Sows housed in groups at the UMN facility in Morris

The University of Minnesota – Morris owns a swine research facility which provides an excellent set up to study the behavior of sows housed in groups. In the past few years, swine producers have committed to change the conditions in which the sows are housed in farms and to keep them in groups where they can interact with each other instead of housing them individually. Putting sows in group reminded us that pigs need a hierarchy and that they will compete and fight to establish it. Because space allowance can impact sows behavior we wondered what the optimum floor space is.

Read the entire report on floor space allowance for sows by Dr. Yuzhi Li

Determining floor space allowance for gestating sows can be controversial because more floor space allowance means low output per square footage of the barn and will potentially reduce profitability for producers. On the other hand, floor space allowance less than sow requirement can compromise sow welfare and performance. To answer the question in the title of this article, we conducted a two-year project (titled ‘Determining the Minimal Floor Space Allowance for Gestating Sows Kept in Pens with Electronic Sow Feeders’). The project was partially sponsored by the National Pork Board, and the research team includes Yuzhi Li and Lee Johnston from the WCROC in Morris, and Sam Baidoo from the SCROC (Southern Research and Outreach Center) in Waseca.[…]

 

The 2017 Allen D. Leman swine conference starts in a week!

Are you ready for the 2017 Leman conference? Come see us starting September 16th at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.

Why come to the Leman conference?

  • For the scientific program built around science-driven solutions, with international speakers
  • For the networking opportunities with hundreds of participants from the swine industry
  • Continuing Education credits available for veterinarians
  • Flu vaccination clinic sponsored by Newport Laboratories

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Who should attend the Allen D. Leman swine conference?

Swine veterinarians and other professionals working in swine production and animal health management are welcome to attend.

This year in the program:

  • Dr. Bob Thompson to receive the Science in Practice award sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Honoring Dr. Bob Morrison’s legacy: Monday September 18th, 8am and 6pm
  • New DVM student session centered around problem-solving skills: Sunday 17th
  • Keynote presentations:
    • Gary Louis and Luc Dufresne from Seaboard Foods, Challenges in defining the Greater Good
    • Noel Williams: Why does the pork industry needs coopetition?
    • Rebecca Liu: Cooperation, Competition and coopetition
    • Tim Roufs: Nutrition and Eating: Understanding why and how we eat

We are looking forward to seeing you next week but if you cannot make it, make sure to come see us next year: Sept 15-18, 2018!

M.hyopneumoniae: knowledge gaps for improved disease control

Enzootic pneumoniae is a chronic respiratory disease caused by Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae in pigs. It has been present in the industry for decades and causes significant economic losses. Yet, control methods like vaccination have not been able to contain the disease. Why is that? What information are we missing to design more effective control methods? This is the goal of the review paper co-authored by Dr. Maria Pieters from the University of Minnesota.

Focusing on various aspects of the disease like epidemiology, pathogenicity, diagnostics, and control measures, this publication regroups all the knowledge we currently have of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae and identifies what we need to investigate to improve disease control.

Click on the banner below to access the full article.

Update on Mhyopneumoniae infections in pig Pieters 2017

Abstract:

Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (M. hyopneumoniae) is the primary pathogen of enzootic pneumonia, a chronic respiratory disease in pigs. Infections occur worldwide and cause major economic losses to the pig industry. The present paper reviews the current knowledge on M. hyopneumoniae infections, with emphasis on identification and analysis of knowledge gaps for optimizing control of the disease. Close contact between infected and susceptible pigs is the main route of M. hyopneumoniae transmission. Management and housing conditions predisposing for infection or disease are known, but further research is needed to better understand M. hyopneumoniae transmission patterns in modern pig production systems, and to assess the importance of the breeding population for downstream disease control. The organism is primarily found on the mucosal surface of the trachea, bronchi and bronchioles. Different adhesins and lipoproteins are involved in the adherence process. However, a clear picture of the virulence and pathogenicity of M. hyopneumoniae is still missing. The role of glycerol metabolism, myoinositol metabolism and the Mycoplasma Ig binding protein—Mycoplasma Ig protease system should be further investigated for their contribution to virulence. The destruction of the mucociliary apparatus, together with modulating the immune response, enhances the susceptibility of infected pigs to secondary pathogens. Clinical signs and severity of lesions depend on different factors, such as management, environmental conditions and likely also M. hyopneumoniae strain. The potential impact of strain variability on disease severity is not well defined. Diagnostics could be improved by developing tests that may detect virulent strains, by improving sampling in live animals and by designing ELISAs allowing discrimination between infected and vaccinated pigs. The currently available vaccines are often cost-efficient, but the ongoing research on developing new vaccines that confer protective immunity and reduce transmission should be continued, as well as optimization of protocols to eliminate M. hyopneumoniae from pig herds.

Science page: Are patterns of spatiotemporal clustering of PRRSv consistent across years?

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, we studied a subset of MSHMP participants located in the Midwest to test if some location/time combinations are more prominent during certain seasons across the years. Data from 358 farms in 10 management systems from 2011 to 2015 was compiled to look for clusters.

The clusters found by the SaTScanTM software are represented below. The red circles represent clusters identified in the time period from January to June, whereas blue ones are July to December. We can note that clusters were identified every year but that they varied with time.

Significant PRRS spatial cluster midwest
Significant spatial clusters for PRRSV in the Midwest between 2011 and 2015.

Key points

  • PRRS cases are recognized to be seasonal and aggregated by geographical space.
  • However, spatiotemporal patterns of PRRS clustering were not consistent across years.
  • Drivers of infection spread may vary over the years.

Future uses for this model can be found in the entire report

What are the acclimation practices for Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae accross the EU?

This new publication in the Porcine Health Management journal is the result of a collaboration between the University of Barcelona in Spain, PIC (Pig improvement Company) and the MycoLab at the University of Minnesota.

321 farms were surveyed across Europe and Russia regarding their practices for gilt acclimation especially in the context of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae. The farms are spread over 18 countries and this is reflected in the strong variation of the measures taken to acclimate the incoming gilt population.

Among the questions asked, the type of farm as well as the size of the herd were recorded. Regarding the gilts, the researchers took into account receiving schedule as well as origin and age in addition to the acclimation measures.

In the table below, you can see the summary of  the measures taken to acclimate the gilts to Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae. The vast majority of the herds (77%) used vaccination either as a single intervention or coupled with exposure to sows about to be culled.  Another popular option (22.4%) was no intervention at all.

Acclimation methods for Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae across the EU
Number of farms (%)according to the methods used for replacement gilt acclimation in terms of M. hyopneumoniae

Click on the table above to see the full open-access publication.

Abstract

Gilts are considered to play a key role in Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (M.hyopneumoniae) transmission and control. An effective gilt acclimation program should ideally reduce M. hyopneumoniae shedding at first farrowing, decreasing pre-weaning colonization prevalence and potential respiratory problems in fatteners. However, information on gilt acclimation practices is scarce in Europe. The aim of this study was to identify current acclimation strategies for M. hyopneumoniae in Europe using a questionnaire designed to assess 15 questions focused on gilt replacement status,
acclimation strategies and methods used to ascertain its effect. A total of 321 questionnaires (representing 321 farms) were voluntarily completed by 108 veterinarians (from 18 European countries). From these farms, 280 out of 321 (87.2%) were aware of the health status of gilts on arrival. From these 280 farms, 161 (57.5%) introduced M. hyopneumoniae positive replacements. In addition, 249 out of 321 (77.6%) farms applied an acclimation process using different strategies, being M. hyopneumoniae vaccination (145 out of 249, 58.2%) and the combination of vaccine and
exposure to sows selected for slaughter (53 out of 249, 21.3%) the most commonly used. Notwithstanding, only 53 out of 224 (23.6%) farms, knowing the M. hyopneumoniae initial status and performing acclimation strategies against it, verified the effect of the acclimation by ELISA (22 out of 53, 41.5%), PCR (4 out of 53, 7.5%) or both (27 out of 53, 50.9%). This study showed that three fourths of the farms represented in this European survey have M. hyopneumoniae acclimation strategies for gilts, and one fifth of them verify to some extent the effect of the process. Taking into account that the assessment of acclimation efficacy could help in optimizing replacement gilt introduction into the breeding herd, it seems these practices for M. hyopneumoniae are still poorly developed in Europe.

Link to the full open-access publication