DAERA Management Notes: Pigs

Pigs e-medicine book
Pigs e-medicine book

Quality assurance standards: If you are a regular reader of the pig management notes you will know that over the last few sets of notes I have updated you on the new quality assurance standards, in particular the Electronic Medicine Book (eMB).

As a reminder you have to upload total antibiotic usage to the eMB on a quarterly basis. Antibiotic usage for quarters two and three of this year must be uploaded by 11th November. Thereafter usage for each quarter has to be uploaded within six weeks of the last day of the quarter, for example antibiotic usage for the quarter ending December must be uploaded by 11th February 2018. The deadlines for submitting data are in Appendix AM.f.1 at the back of the new standards you received recently from Red Tractor.

Access to the eMB is through the Pig Hub (www.pighub.org.uk). Once you have registered, login using the username and password you receive in an email. Select the ‘Simple antibiotic data entry’ option and enter the total antibiotics used in the time period. Total antibiotics include injectables, in-feed, in-water, skin, eye and ear treatments. Once you have submitted the data print off the ‘Holding antibiotic usage’ report as during an audit the inspector will ask to see this as evidence of data submission.

One of the existing standards that has been revised is in relation to ear notching. The revised standard states ‘Ear tagging, tattooing or a single notch must be used to identify individual animals. Routine multiple ear notching is not permitted.’ This means you cannot identify, for example replacement gilts using several ear notches. You will have to tag, tattoo or use only one notch to identify these animals. Multiple ear notching can only be used if the colouring of pedigree breeds prevents the use of a tattoo and veterinary advice has been given. The veterinary recommendation has to be recorded in the Veterinary Health Plan.

African swine fever – It’s getting closer!

How would you, your staff and business cope if there was an outbreak of African swine fever on your farm? What if your pigs stopped eating, had a high fever, swollen eyes, no energy, perhaps even were vomiting and coughing and then started to die suddenly? On top of that your sows may abort, pigs are born weak and there is an increase in the number of pigs born dead. These are all signs of African swine fever, an outbreak of which could have a devastating effect on you, your staff, business and the Northern Ireland pig industry.

African swine fever is getting closer as it continues to spread eastwards through Europe with outbreaks now confirmed in Romania and the Czech Republic. It is thought that something as simple as pigs eating infected meat or meat products will be the cause of an outbreak on a farm. This is because African swine fever can survive for weeks and even months in meat products, with frozen meat posing a very high risk.

Another one of the new quality assurance standards which ties in with reducing the risk of African swine fever entering a unit is ‘Smoking and the consumption of food must be restricted to designated areas’. The standard also states that ‘pork products cannot be consumed in areas where there are pigs’. Making your staff and visitors aware of this and adhering to it will reduce the risk of pigs being fed food products, for example sandwiches, pizzas containing infected pigmeat. You will have received a leaflet on African swine fever from DAERA which summarises other steps you can take to help prevent an outbreak.

Visit the DAERA website at www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articlesafrican-swine-fever for more biosecurity advice and the latest news on African swine fever.