3 Global Disease Pressures Impacting Livestock Producers

The need for livestock protection increases as overseas disease threats continue to emerge. ( AgWeb )

Tariffs and disease—the two words that strike fear into every livestock farmer and stakeholder. Even as trade talks continue, the U.S. is on high alert to make sure several foreign animal disease (FAD) threats stay outside U.S. borders.

African swine fever spreads in Europe and China

On Sept. 9, a case of African swine fever (ASF) was found by Belgian authorities, after three adult wild boars were found dead near the southern village of Étalle, in the Belgian province of Luxembourg. In total, eight infected wild pigs have been found. No cases of disease had been found on commercial pig farms, officials said.

As of press time, China has reported nearly 20 cases of African swine fever (ASF) since July, affecting eight provinces. China has banned transportation of live hog and pig products in 16 regions to help contain the disease spread. The affected areas include the provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Jilin, Fujian, Jiangxi, Shandong, Hubei and Shaanxi as well as the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and the city of Shanghai.

china asf
This map shows the locations of the first 11 cases of African Swine Fever, as of Sept. 11, 2018. Since then, additional cases have emerged. China's swine-dense population is located in the central part of the country.

China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs says the country’s sow herd, as of August 2018, is 4.8% smaller than a year ago. The sow herd declined just over 1% from the month prior.

The largest portion of the Chinese pig herd rests in the central part of the country. The ban has interrupted supply channels at every level, report many farmers. The Liaoning providence in the northeast exports nearly 20% of its pigs each year to the southern part of the country, under normal conditions. While hog supplies are accumulating in the north with no market access, hog prices in the southern providences have soared.

Pork prices in the Zhejiang province have increased 23% since the outbreak, due to the transportation ban. Complicating pork price disruptions even further is China's trade war with the U.S. Pork makes up about two-thirds of China’s meat consumption.

Other cases of the disease have been found in Romania this year.

ASF is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease that produces a wide range of clinical signs and lesions. There is no vaccine or treatment for the disease, but does not affect human health.

Classical Swine Fever resurfaces in Japan after 26 years

Also known as hog cholera, Classical Swine fever, was identified Sept. 9th on a farm located at Gifu Prefecture, in the central area of Japan, killing 80 pigs. The last CSF outbreak in Japan was in 1992. In 2007, the use of vaccination was banned and disease eradication was declared.

While the Gifu Prefecture is not a major area of swine production, it’s only 500 miles from the south region, the highest pig-dense area.

Unrelated to ASF cases in China, CSF does present similar clinical symptoms with mortality rates of nearly 100%. Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) says the remaining 610 pigs on the farm were culled to contain the outbreak and no clear origin of the infection has been found. Additional testing continues. Commercial vaccines are available for the control of CSF.

Exports have been suspended until Japan’s veterinary services can determine if control measures are sufficient.

Japan is also still recovering from the 2013-2016 porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) epidemenic, reports SHIC. On July 9, 2018, USDA-APHIS had published the official notice of the OIE recognition of Japan as free-CSF. Currently, Japan is one of the Top 10 pork-producing countries in the world.

Foot and mouth disease continues to torment China, South Korean farmers

ASF isn’t the only disease China’s Ministry of Agriculture is struggling to contain. An outbreak of foot and mouth disease in a herd of cattle was found Sept. 6, and later confirmed diagnosis of the O-type strain of the disease Sept. 14.

The cattle had been transported to the Xinjiang region from Gansu province. Local authorities in Xinjiang culled 47 cattle following the outbreak. The outbreak is now under control, the Chinese ministry said.

However, this is the eighth case of the O-type strain found in livestock in China this year. In August, China culled 173 pigs due to FMD.

South Korea has also seen reports of the disease this year. In both countries, there is extensive vaccination for the disease, but the efficacy of the vaccine and the compliance to the vaccination regime can vary widely.

Leaders advise U.S. farmers to review farm biosecurity plans

All of these threats underline the need for U.S. producers and feed suppliers to review and increase biosecurity protocols to keep disease threats from affecting the U.S. herd.

Dave Pyburn, DVM, vice president of science and technology for the Pork Checkoff, advises producers to review the Foreign Animal Disease Checklist at pork.org/FAD. “By going through the items on this list, you can improve your biosecurity plan and prepare to register for the voluntary Secure Pork Supply plan, which will help participants maintain business continuity in the event of a FAD,” he says.

According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, losses from ASF could total as much as $8 billion for the pork industry in year one alone. That doesn’t include related losses of $4 billion and $1.5 billion for the affected input commodities of corn and soybeans, respectively.

“Keeping trade-limiting foreign animal diseases, such as ASF, out of the U.S. is critical to pork producers,” said Steve Rommereim, National Pork Board president and a producer from Alcester, South Dakota. “We all need to improve the overall level of FAD preparedness. We hope for the best, but we must prepare for the worst.”

Producers hope a FAD vaccine bank, included the current draft of the next farm bill, will help provide additional resources. Funding of the vaccine bank, however is unclear.

For example, NPPC anticipates the U.S. will need an inventory of 10 million doses of FMD vaccine, the estimated need for the first two weeks of a potential outbreak. The vaccine bank would also need to store FMD antigen against all 23 of the most common types of the disease. Read more by clicking the image below:


Foot & Mouth Disease