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Articles from 2001 In November


Technical Information Analyst

Company Information:

Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. DEKALB CHOICE GENETICS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto Company, providing the swine industry with superior genetics, has the following opening in its Health Services and Technical & Business Development Teams.

Responsibilities: Work across technical disciplines to provide input on project design, data analysis, modeling and value estimates. Team up with program managers for reproductive services, genetic services, nutrition, meat science and data management to best utilize and interpret information generated. This information and analysis will be used to partner with sales and marketing to support and grow customer relationships and increase market share.

Qualifications: Ph.D. preferred; minimum Master's degree in Animal Breeding, Biometrics, or related field.

Response Information: We offer a competitive salary and benefits package. If you have a desire to be part of our organization, respond by our preferred online method at: http://respond.webhire.com/job. Monsanto is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse combination of ideas, perspectives, and cultures. EEO/AA EMPLOYER M/F/D/V. DEKALB CHOICE GENETICS...A Monsanto Company

Genetic Services Manager

Company Information: Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. DEKALB CHOICE GENETICS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto Company, providing the swine industry with superior genetics, has the following opening in its Health Services and Technical & Business Development Teams.

Responsibilities: Work in a team environment to implement breeding programs in customer farms that reflect the latest in genetic improvement technology. Assist in modeling the economic value of alternative breeding programs and genetic choices. Partner with sales and marketing to support and grow customer relationships and genetic market share.

Qualifications: Ph.D. preferred; minimum Master's degree in Animal Breeding or related field.

Response Information: We offer a competitive salary and benefits package. If you have a desire to be part of our organization, respond by our preferred online method at: http://respond.webhire.com/job/id?604-r760-J3. Monsanto is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse combination of ideas, perspectives, and cultures. EEO/AA EMPLOYER M/F/D/V. DEKALB CHOICE GENETICS...A Monsanto Company

Nutrition Program Manager

Company Information:

Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. DEKALB CHOICE GENETICS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto Company, providing the swine industry with superior genetics, has the following opening in its Health Services and Technical & Business Development Teams.

Responsibilities: Drive research and support programs to understand, develop and communicate nutritional needs and recommendations for DEKALB CHOICE GENETICS product lines. Work with industry leaders and key customers to model, research and communicate the latest in production technology. Partner with sales and marketing to build customer relationships and grow market share.

Qualifications: Ph.D. preferred; minimum Master's degree in Swine Nutrition or related field.

Response Information: We offer a competitive salary and benefits package. If you have a desire to be part of our organization, respond by our preferred online method at: http://respond.webhire.com/job. Monsanto is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse combination of ideas, perspectives, and cultures. EEO/AA EMPLOYER M/F/D/V. DEKALB CHOICE GENETICS...A Monsanto Company

Genetic Services Manager

Company Information:

Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. DEKALB CHOICE GENETICS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto Company, providing the swine industry with superior genetics, has the following opening in its Health Services and Technical & Business Development Teams.

Responsibilities: Work in a team environment to implement breeding programs in customer farms that reflect the latest in genetic improvement technology. Assist in modeling the economic value of alternative breeding programs and genetic choices. Partner with sales and marketing to support and grow customer relationships and genetic market share.

Qualifications: Ph.D. preferred; minimum Master's degree in Animal Breeding or related field.

Response Information: We offer a competitive salary and benefits package. If you have a desire to be part of our organization, respond by our preferred online method at: http://respond.webhire.com/job. Monsanto is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse combination of ideas, perspectives, and cultures. EEO/AA EMPLOYER M/F/D/V. DEKALB CHOICE GENETICS...A Monsanto Company

Health Services Veterinarian

Company Information:

Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. DEKALB CHOICE GENETICS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto Company, providing the swine industry with superior genetics, has the following opening in its Health Services and Technical & Business Development Teams.

Responsibilities: Design and drive protocols to maximize health for both new and current customers of DEKALB CHOICE GENETICS. Implement new technologies and knowledge to improve health while also maintaining and updating your regulatory knowledge to facilitate the movement of animals. Partner with the sales team to support and grow customer relationships and market share.

Qualifications: DVM Degree required; minimum 2 years experience in business and/or clinical practice involving swine.

Response Information: We offer a competitive salary and benefits package. If you have a desire to be part of our organization, respond by our preferred online method at: http://respond.webhire.com/job. Monsanto is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse combination of ideas, perspectives, and cultures. EEO/AA EMPLOYER M/F/D/V. DEKALB CHOICE GENETICS...A Monsanto Company

Meat Sciences Program Manager

Company Information:

Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. DEKALB CHOICE GENETICS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto Company, providing the swine industry with superior genetics, has the following opening in its Health Services and Technical & Business Development Teams.

Responsibilities: Provide leadership and visibility for DEKALB CHOICE GENETICS in the field of meat science. You will be responsible for establishing and developing relationships with key pork packers and processors. Help customers optimize genetic product value within their systems and partner with the sales and marketing teams to enhance key relationships and increase market share.

Qualifications: Ph.D. preferred; minimum Master's degree in Meat Science or related field.

Response Information: We offer a competitive salary and benefits package. If you have a desire to be part of our organization, respond by our preferred online method at: http://respond.webhire.com/job . Monsanto is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse combination of ideas, perspectives, and cultures. EEO/AA EMPLOYER M/F/D/V. DEKALB CHOICE GENETICS...A Monsanto Company

Farms.com Buys PigCHAMP

Farms.com, Ltd. has acquired all shares of PigCHAMP, Inc. from a small group of employees and consultants that, just two years ago, had acquired exclusive, worldwide rights to the popular recordkeeping software program.

PigCHAMP, Inc., originally developed at the University of Minnesota, is the leading pork industry software company with more than 5,000 producers representing 1.5 million sows.

"PigCHAMP is a great fit for Farms.com and will complement our existing services to the pork producer," comments Doug Maus, president and CEO of Farms.com, Ltd. based in London, Ontario.

Maus says an initial goal will be to develop synergies between the PigCHAMP production-tracking capabilities and Farms.com’s marketing initiatives. "Our real goal is to extend what we already have in existence in our cash trading business, to basically add information to the marketing services we already have."

The pork industry badly needs road signs, says Maus. "In principle, one of the huge values in being able to move this information forward – and one of our strongest goals for the future – is we would hope that we could get better aggregate numbers and be able to provide the industry with the sight that it needs. Clearly, it’s our view that if we could move the information in a timely fashion, we can certainly come up with fields of data that at least tell producers how many sows were bred this week, how many pigs were weaned, how many pigs were marketed. If we can get those fields right in aggregate, we can give the industry some tremendous direction as to what is currently being loaded into the supply side of the pipeline," he says.

Maus also foresees a grow-finish program that clearly shows how fast pigs are moving through the supply pipeline – another factor that seems to set producers’ marketing efforts askew.

Windows Application Coming Soon

High on the new owner’s priority list is the introduction of a Windows-based version of PigCHAMP. Farms.com has an in-house, internet-based production records system which provides an interface to move DOS-based (PigCHAMP) information into a sequel database. This gives them the ability to migrate and store all existing DOS-based records now.

"We have plans to come out of the gate very early in the New Year with a Windows-based version of PigCHAMP which will enable producers to move their information ‘in’ and ‘out’ of that database," Maus notes.

Reinforcing the Windows-based initiative, Maus also announced the hiring of sales and customer services representatives Jayne Jackson and Susan Olson. Jackson most recently served as sales and customer service manager for PigTales, while Olson recently served as product manager at MetaFarms.com, Eagan, MN. Ron Jessen will remain as general manager in PigCHAMP’s Apple Valley, MN, headquarters.

Bureau Structure Intact

The service bureau-type structure will be retained, but Maus noted that a complete evaluation will be undertaken to ensure producers at all levels of production are being served.

"We will have to stratify it. We see the bureau as a way of being able to provide a lot of existing clients a comfort level that they are still dealing with their (swine) health care professional, which has been a large part of why those bureaus were set up in the first place."

It is common for a veterinary consultant or a veterinary clinic to serve as a bureau to collect, input and analyze herd or site performance records in a specific area or group. Similarly, some of the mega-sized operations established a bureau-type structure to evaluate groups of farms within their production system.

Maus is quick to point out, however, a lot of the shared data is done in aggregate so nobody really knows who the customer is. This allows for data comparisons and benchmarking without identifying individuals or farms.

Big Picture Value

Summing up, Maus says: "We really want to help every producer, at all strata, to have an ability to maximize their return on assets and return on equity. To be able to do that, I really believe that we not only have to understand the back end of reproductive and growth data, but we have to have a better flow of information back from the processor as well. Otherwise, it is going to be very difficult to address some of the key industry drivers – such as source verification and food safety. Our future is going to depend on it."

Quality Assurance Program Revised

The three-tiered management education program known as the Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) program has been revised to a single classification of PQA certification.

It's actually a blend of the old and the new that focuses on the same goals as when the program was first introduced in 1989, stresses Paul Sundberg, DVM, PQA technical advisor and assistant vice president for veterinary issues for the National Pork Board.

“Providing a safe, wholesome pork product for consumers every time they visit the meat counter ensures demand for pork products both domestically and internationally,” he says. “This basic goal of the PQA program remains the same with the 2001 edition of the manual.”

The PQA program continues to reflect the producer's ultimate responsibility for properly observing drug withdrawal times, he says.

“They must ensure that antimicrobial residues in swine tissues do not exceed acceptable limits. If these limits are not followed, consumer confidence will be sacrificed and demand will be lost. This will have a severe impact on the pork industry,” says Sundberg.

PQA Topics

Topics which have been expanded reflect a more “user friendly” approach to the program. Producers should be able to more easily find answers to specific questions about their operations, he says.

Topics which have been expanded:

  • Antibiotic resistance and judicious use guidelines;

  • Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point information;

  • Biosecurity and rodent control;

  • Animal welfare information on proper loading and handling;

  • Disease prevention issues that relate to food safety;

  • Foreign animal disease;

  • Standard operating procedures (for needle use), and

  • Medication withdrawal charts.



Other new additions to the PQA manual include a glossary of terms and a section with a Good Production Practice Quality Checklist.

“This checklist can be used by the producer and educator to annually review the producer's fulfillment of good production practices (GPP),” explains Sundberg.

Sundberg emphasizes producers who are current in their PQA education do not have to be certified in the new program until their two-year renewal period has expired.

Government Drug Violation Plans Opposed

Two USDA proposals to publicize a list of repeat swine drug use violators and to condemn carcasses for illegal drug residues in target tissues were strongly opposed by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Aug. 6, without request for public comments, a plan to publicize a list of repeat violators on its Web site. The list would include names and addresses of sellers deemed responsible for repeat sales of livestock with violative levels of chemical residues. Violators would be listed for a year.

Publication of the names of violators raises many concerns, the biggest of which is ensuring that the person listed is actually the source of the illegal product. “The U.S. pork industry consists of producers who may have animals on many different sites for production with different feed sources or animal health products used,” says NPPC President Barb Determan. Government agencies need to work to identify the specific source or site of the repeat violation and correct the actions of the violator.

Currently, government inspectors who find an illegal drug residue restricted to a target tissue (organ), condemn those tissues and then test the meat. If no illegal drug residue is found, then the inspector can pass the remainder of the meat for consumption.

FSIS is proposing to condemn the whole carcass without further testing if a violative drug residue is found in a target tissue.

Determan charges FSIS does not have adequate testing protocols in place for four drugs used in the pork industry. Therefore, the FSIS plan could result in ordering the condemnation of healthy carcasses.

Both of these actions could change the way businesses market hogs, force suspect animals into different market channels and pose major economic implications for the pork industry, she states.
Joe Vansickle

Mange Mounts A Comeback

The mange mite is back. Just about stamped out in the early '90s, the most common external parasite problem of hogs worldwide, is mounting a serious comeback.

“Packing plant carcass surveys, along with reports from swine veterinarians and pork producers, point to increasing levels of sarcoptic mange mite infestations in swine herds,” explains Steve Parker, director of Merial's North American swine business unit.

To combat the increased severity, Merial is relaunching its IVOMEC (ivermectin) for swine Herd Mange/Lice Elimination (HM/LE) program that eliminates parasite problems from the herd. The program incorporates all three IVOMEC for Swine Brand formulations, IVOMEC 1% Injection for Swine, IVOMEC 0.27% Injection for Grower and Feeder Pigs or IVOMEC Premix for Swine.

The program is really geared to eradication of swine mange, says Parker, admitting the hog louse has virtually been eliminated.

Surveying the Damage

When mange strikes, it causes losses in productivity estimated by Merial officials at $84-$115/sow unit/year. Included in that figure is an average increase of 8.6 days to market, litters weighing 9.1 lb. less at weaning and 0.8 fewer pigs weaned/year.

There is intense discomfort in the ears and folds of skin in affected hogs where mange mites live and breed. This results in damage to equipment from rubbing. The infestation also decreases hog value at slaughter due to trim loss.

Reemerging Problem

A random survey of seven Midwest hog packing plants in 1996 found 43% of 1,442 operations showed signs of dermatitis and skin lesions due to mange, says Parker. The survey represented more than 27,000 hogs.

USDA's National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) Swine 2000 survey reports the percent of animals for which there was regular use of prevention practices for mange/lice. The NAHMS survey reported regular treatment in 12% of piglets, 15.5% of growing and finishing pigs, 36.9% of sows/gilts and 46.6% of boars.

There are several reasons for the upswing in the number of cases. “Swine mange is reemerging partly because low levels of mange mites are hard to detect in herds,” points out Parker. “Another reason is poor economic conditions in recent years led to lapses in control and opened the door to reinfestation.” Increased specialization in pork production means more animals move between operations, spreading mange, he notes.

Moreover, the mite Sarcoptes scabiei var. suis, the cause of sarcoptic mange, will remain widespread in swine herds unless eliminated by specific eradication measures, says Marty Mohr, DVM, Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, MN. Herd prevalence estimates of 50% or greater have been reported in many countries, including the United States.

Eradication Details

So the field-proven HM/LE program can be essential to eradicating mange, he says. The first option involves injection of all hogs in all phases of production. The second protocol combines use of injections and in-feed formulations of IVOMEC. The third plan involves in-feed administration for all pigs, except injection for pigs off feed or nursing.

The three options allow producers and veterinarians to tailor the HM/LE program to fit management and facility capabilities.

To prevent program failure, Mohr offers this four-point plan:

  1. HM/LE preparation

    Design the elimination program based on the needs of the production system. No matter which treatment option is selected, make sure a two-dose program is followed, adds Parker. The first dose is to kill the established mange mite population. The second dose is to clean up any residual infection. The treatments should be at least 18-21 days apart, because that is the life cycle of the mange mite, he says.

    Biosecurity is paramount, says Mohr. During elimination, stop new animal introductions. Thoroughly clean and disinfect all transport vehicles. Burn any bedding offsite. Use a mange spray to kill any residual mites that may be left in the environment.

    Limit staff movement between farm sites. Ban personnel movement from infected sites to mange-free sites. Separate clean-dirty equipment and supplies to prevent cross-contamination.

    Don't estimate weights. Weigh animals to determine proper dosing levels.

    Calibrate syringes carefully to ensure proper dosing for injecting small pigs and breeding stock alike.

    Destroy old boots and coveralls, preferably by burning. Clean and disinfect new boots.

    Sell off culls, non-productive females and market-ready animals before implementation.

  2. Financial implications

    Draft a budget to compare short-term vs. long-term cost benefits. Roger Riggs, Merial sales manager, reports the initial cost of the program is $18/20/inventoried female. That includes all pigs in all phases of production in a farrow-to-finish operation. Return on investment averages six months.

  3. IVOMEC Premix for mange elimination

    Completely clean out all old feed, ensure feeders aren't plugged and will deliver feed efficiently to the pigs. Verify product usage.

  4. HM/LE Implementation

    Ensure adequate trained staff is available to carry out the program. Mark injected pigs. Change needles every 20-25 injections. Confirm feed deliveries and feed disappearance if using the feed premix protocol.



Merial officials stress that program participation must involve a swine veterinarian.

After elimination, continue to isolate and treat all replacement stock, stresses Riggs, including those from the finishing area. Conduct slaughter checks or carcass evaluations to assure free status.

Declares Parker: “We have the tools to eradicate this disease. Let's use the tools.”

NSIF Holds Annual Conference

The National Swine Improvement Federation's 26th Annual Conference and Meeting is scheduled for Dec. 6-7 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in St. Louis, MO.

At this year's conference, a poster session will describe the latest research, technological and systems information for swine breeders.

Educational program will feature talks on gene discovery and functional genomics in the pig, use of genomics in a genetic selection program and genetic estimates for meat quality and production traits in pigs.

Other talks focus on the impact of foreign animal diseases on selection programs and competition and animal well being.

Registration after Nov. 1 is $150/person. For more information contact Ken Stalder at (731) 425-4705 or e-mail stalder@utk.edu. For reservations, call the hotel (314) 241-4200.

Enteric Disease Haunts Piglets

Neonatal diarrhea doesn't get much fanfare. But it still poses everyday challenges for practicing veterinarians and their clientele.

Case Study No. 1

A 1,200-sow, farrow-to-wean unit has trouble with yellow, watery diarrhea in piglets from 12 to 72 hours of age. At times, the pigs appear caramel-coated and will pile in corners or on top of the sow.

Diarrhea doesn't normally kill these baby pigs, but performance of those litters is poor. Often, reduced suckling leads to mastitis in the sow.

The diarrhea has been diagnosed as Clostridium perfringens Type A. The problem doesn't appear seasonal in nature, but does seem cyclical. The unit will go several months with no cases, followed by a two- to four-week period of severe outbreaks.

Multiple treatment therapies have been attempted, including feeding antibiotics to sows prior to and during lactation. Several injectable and/or oral medications have been given to piglets at birth to help prevent and control outbreaks.

Ultimately, our best control strategy on this farm is a single antigen, autogenous vaccine. Sows and gilts receive two doses of the Clostridium Type A vaccine prefarrowing.

While we haven't totally eliminated Clostridium Type A challenges, we have reduced the number of occurrences and the severity and duration of those episodes.

Case Study No. 2

A producer brought in 14-day-old pigs and reported signs of scours and sudden death among litters throughout the farrowing house. On necropsy, intestinal lesions were deep red with a pink, mucoid lining. Hemolytic E. coli was cultured from the samples, and further testing revealed a toxigenic type K88 E. coli. A commercial vaccine for K88 E. coli was being used on sows and gilts.

The producer had another large group of gilts and sows due to farrow within three weeks. We used the isolated E. coli strain to make a milk bacterin that was fed to the sows for three days in a row. This program improved scour control in the farrowing house and has continued to do so for the last four months.

Case Study No. 3

While conducting a semi-annual herd visit to a 150-sow client, I asked to review his vaccination schedule. Amazingly, this client has no vaccination schedule. Sows are managed in a four-group, five-week system. They are housed in dirt lots during gestation and farrowed in huts with solid concrete flooring both inside and out. The farm flows as a single-site operation.

This producer consistently weans 8.5-9 pigs/litter. Sows milk well and piglets seldom scour.

I always leave wondering how, with solid concrete flooring, this unit consistently performs so well without signs of neonatal diarrhea. The likely answer is it's a small population.

The herd is serologically negative for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) and swine influenza virus. All replacement gilts are retained from the finishing herd. Very few boars enter the herd, and when they do, they come into the unit in small numbers as the producer collects his own boars and artificially inseminates the sows.

Sows are fed on concrete slabs, have excellent natural exposure to “bugs” on the farm. I believe this producer is fortunate to have an extremely stable sow herd to common pathogens like neonatal diarrhea, and his sows pass very good immunity on to the piglets.

Case Study No. 4

A 1,200-sow, farrow-to-wean unit purchased some bred females of like genetics from a producer going out of business. When these newly bred females began to farrow, a yellow, pasty diarrhea was noted in pigs at 7-10 days of age. Diagnostics revealed rotavirus as the culprit.

Within another two weeks, rotavirus was being seen in both purchased animals and the existing sow herd.

An aggressive feedback program was started, utilizing intestines and feces from the scouring piglets. This feedback program began with sows two to four weeks prefarrowing through the watering troughs. A modified-live rotavirus vaccine was also given to sows and gilts at five and two weeks before farrowing.

Within a month, clinical signs were eliminated. The unit continued to vaccinate sows and gilts for six months with the rotavirus vaccine. The unit then stopped using vaccine and has been free of clinical signs of the disease for more than two years.

Summary

Neonatal diarrhea pathogens continue to evolve and elude us, even with our most sophisticated management practices today. When preventative or treatment measures are not yielding expected results, it's still extremely important to get a proper diagnosis and set up new strategies to combat these intestinal terrorists.