National Pork Board launches three-pronged attack on PEDV

By Georgi Gyton

- Last updated on GMT

Around 1.3m piglets have been lost since January
Around 1.3m piglets have been lost since January

Related tags National pork board Pork Pig Livestock

The US’ National Pork Board has launched a three-pronged strategy to try and stem the spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV).

More than $1m of additional funding has been earmarked for research into stopping the spread of the virus, which was first identified in the US in May 2013: $650,000 through supplemental funding approved by the Pork Checkoff at a board meeting last week, and £500,000 through a new agreement with Genome Alberta.

Karen Richter, a Minnesota producer and president of the National Pork Board, said: "This has become one of the most serious and devastating diseases our pig farmers have faced in decades.

"While it has absolutely no impact on food safety, it has clear implications for the pork industry in terms of supplying pork to consumers. Our number one priority is to address PEDV."

The Pork Checkoff has also announced a number of partnerships with other industry players, including the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the American Feed Industry Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, the National Renderers Association and the North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Protein Producers.

It is hoped that through the alignment of swine, feed and veterinary groups, greater collaboration can lead to developments in fighting PEDV. The new strategy was announced at the annual National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City, Kansas last weekend.

Richter added: "I am hopeful others will join our coordinated effort to specifically define risks and share information to contain the further spread of PEDV."

According the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the virus has surfaced in 26 states. Also active in some parts of Canada, it has caused a heavy loss of piglets across farms in the US.

Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics and a Pork Checkoff consultant, estimated that PEDV had resulted in the loss of more than five million piglets in the past several months, with 1.3 million lost in January alone. 

"Losses of this magnitude will ultimately have a consumer impact through a reduction in supply,"​ Meyer said. "Some pork supply will be made up through producing higher market-weight hogs and through other loss mitigation actions, but today we are already seeing summer pork futures climb to record levels."

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