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OIE to establish U.S. office in College Station, Texas

Following the Executive Order 13759 by which the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has been designated as a Public International Organization entitled to enjoy certain privileges, exemptions and immunities, the OIE announced today that it will establish a liaison office in the United States later this year. Created in 1924, the OIE’s missions are to:
1. ensure transparency in the global animal disease situation,
2. safeguard world trade by publishing health standards for international trade in animals and animal products, and
3. encourage international solidarity in the control of animal diseases in particular by improving the legal framework and resources of national Veterinary Services.

With respect to its standard setting mandate, the OIE is recognized as the reference organization for animal health and zoonoses by the World Trade Organization.

Over the past few years, the OIE has developed a number of activities to foster improved interaction with interested stakeholders through Public-Private Partnerships. These partnerships will seek to stimulate increased investments in animal health and welfare, as well as the establishment of development programs targeting the livestock sector.

This OIE U.S. office will be hosted by the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases based in College Station, Texas, — a unit within the Texas A&M University System that was recognized as an OIE Collaborating Centre in the domain of biological threat reduction in 2014. The OIE office is expected to open on October 1, with the aims of increasing collaboration, establishing partnerships and maintaining donor relations with several U.S. state agencies and departments as well as organizations based in the U.S. that have an interest in global animal health and animal welfare. This office will also offer support to the OIE headquarters based in Paris to accomplish the OIE’s Sixth Strategic Plan.

The OIE currently has a total of 181 member countries and 12 regional and sub-regional representations located on each continent.

Farm Progress America, June 21, 2017

Max Armstrong looks at the news that Amazon is buying Whole Foods, and how that purchase could change the Whole Foods shopping experience. The food retailer has lost to price competition from Amazon, and others, and the company has also seen other market softness. And more changes could be coming.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Pork needs a new trend; industry looking for ‘wow’

Mugshot of Phil Lempert inset in a Pork Checkoff photo of American Pride Pork Chop

Meeting consumer demand can be a difficult task, especially since consumer trends seem to be ever-evolving, and consumers can be fickle.

Phil Lempert has made a living from identifying and trying to stay ahead of consumer food trends, with roots forged on his grandfather’s New Jersey dairy farm, and carrying on through his father’s work as a food manufacturer, distributor and broker. Lempert, now a resident of California, has parlayed that background into a career as the self-proclaimed Supermarket Guru. For more than 25 years, Lempert has identified and explained impending trends to consumers and some of the most prestigious companies worldwide.

During the National Pork Industry Forum in March, Lempert instructed the National Pork Board about the task at hand of catching and capitalizing on consumer trends in the pork world. “Consumers and trends change, and we [the pork industry] need to change with that,” he says.

Lempert uses the analogy that a trend is like an elephant. “They’re big, and they’re lumbering, and what we typically do is we get an email, we get a phone call or we’re at meetings like this, and we try to identify trends,” he says. “In the food world, we identify that elephant, and we have our tools — I call them our bows and arrows — the internet marketing, the advertising, and we spot that trend, and we start chasing. You shoot an arrow at it, and it hits the elephant in the butt, and it just keeps running, and you’ve done absolutely nothing.”

Instead “we need to spot that trend, get ahead of it, dig a big hole and that’s how we catch it,” he says. “Running after a trend, you’re never going to catch it; it’s too late.”

Catching a trend is only the beginning, Lempert says. “Once we capture that trend, we need to keep an eye out for the next one. As soon as we think we’ve got it figured out, they [consumers] move in a different direction.”

Trends vary by the consumer demography at hand, and technology and social media have “changed everything, especially with millennials and Generation Z,” he says.

Lempert says the trends embraced by the millennials are that 28% want minimal processing, 25% want “local” and 25% want a short list of ingredients. Millennials are defined as those born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s. Generation Z is loosely defined as those born in the mid-1990s to early 2000s.

Lempert has trouble with labels such as “local” because it’s hard to define, or it has evolved over time. “Clarify local,” he says. “First it was Bob’s farm down the road; then it was in a different community; then it was a state; then it was a region. The official definition that we should all keep in mind for local is that it was grown on Planet Earth. … Local has been so powerful at retail that it has gotten carried away, that it has become elusive and difficult for the consumer to understand.”

One label that has not been misconstrued is protein. “People want protein, protein, protein,” Lempert says, and that plays well for pork producers, and he feels pork producers and the pork industry in general have done a good job, but need to get even better at promoting pork to the buying public.

“We’re in a much more transparent environment than we ever have been, and these consumers are going to find out exactly what they want to know,” Lempert says. “So you [pork producers] need to be sure that you’re out there properly communicating to all of the consumers.”

Identifying or creating a pork trend can help sell the product domestically and internationally, but as he mentioned before, “Trends can be tricky. It comes down to understanding what’s realistic. Trends that stick are things that certainly bring something new to the party, but are realistic with the food system we have today. That’s No. 1.”

Secondly, there has to be consumer interest and real value for the consumer, something that really holds on. “Sriracha is a fad; you saw the same with oat bran and more recently with kale; we’re starting to see that fade,” he says, “unlike gluten-free, which is a trend and more people are going to it because they frankly feel better. There’s an immediate benefit. Even though there’s less than 1% of the population that has celiac disease, gluten-free has become mainstream. It’s really a more scientific modification of the Atkins diet, that’s really all it is. That’s the reason people have been able to gravitate to it and embrace in their everyday lives.”

Don’t fear, though. Lempert does not see the bacon trend as fading anytime soon. “It is trendy and everywhere right now. I think we’re just seeing it at the beginning level. Reason is, bacon as a trend does not require anything different from consumers, from industry, from supermarkets, from restaurants; it is just the addition of bacon to different foods.”

He feels this will only continue as he sees bacon’s next iteration coming in different cuts, styles and flavors.

Even though consumers want protein, and the pork industry knows that pork is protein-rich, the consumer may need to be educated to that fact. “I think the animal protein industry believes consumers know that meats are protein-rich,” he says. “I don’t think that’s the case. I think you have to beat consumers over the head and say to them, ‘We’re high in protein, and it’s a good protein, and it’s a naturally occurring protein.’ It’s not a powder you have to add to something.”

He feels that pork producers may be too “close to the action” to be able to properly tell the pork-protein story. “I think we keep telling ourselves, ‘Well, everyone knows that.’ But no, not everyone knows that. I applaud what they [the pork industry] are doing with antibiotics, but they need to do the same with protein.”

Lempert sees other facets of the food chain that need to be educated about the meat industry to be able to, in turn, educate the consumer. “We’re seeing more new people come into our industry that don’t know” the meat industry, he says. “Buyers, merchandisers, and they use very sophisticated software to purchase and merchandize products, but that doesn’t mean they have the knowledge that the meat buyer might have had 20 or 30 years ago. That’s why it’s important that the message gets out both to the industry and to consumers.”

Pork needs a ‘wow’
For a product to catch the eyes, ears and tongues of consumers, there has to be a “wow” to lure in consumers. Lempert says pork producers had a “wow” with the Other White Meat campaign. “Bacon is a ‘wow,’ but I don’t think the opportunity has been grabbed enough to bring it to that level. A lot of the board is constantly looking for that ‘wow,’ but again it’s hard to find, and you really have to get back to the basics.”

Pork is the second most popular protein in the country, but “I don’t think it’s top-of-mind for the consumer, even though the sales are there,” Lempert says. “Chicken has done a good job of promoting themselves as an alternative to beef. Pork has a lot more versatility to it, and a lot more uses. Finding those ‘wows’ are critical to bringing consumer excitement.”

Once the pork industry gets consumers excited for the product, keeping them excited may take some more education. “If not cooked properly, you don’t have the same taste experience. That’s why educating the consuming public is so integral to getting more pork on plates,” he says. “That’s a combination of in-store demos, online videos. It’s working with the culinary experts that are out there to really empower the consumer as to how to prepare pork properly.”

Lempert offers the example of customers buying seafood at Kroger who get a free cooking pouch. “You take any fish, put it in this pouch, broil it in your broiler, and it comes out perfect; I’ve tried it about 10 times.”

Seafood suffers from the same safe cooking-hesitancy issues that pork does. “Consumers are afraid to make it because they are afraid ‘I’m going to overcook it or undercook it, and either I’m going to get sick, or I’m going to have to throw it out.’ So they came up with this [cooking pouch] as one solution. And I think that’s the kind of thing we need. It could even be an app that has a built-in timer. … I’ve got a 1-inch thick, 8-ounce pork chop; you plug that in, and it sets a timer, and it dings when you need to turn it over.”

This age of technology offers consumers opportunities to simplify home cooking, especially for millennials and Generation Z who have been born with this technology; “that’s what they love.”

Lempert says as millennials age, they are getting more into preparing their own meals, and they like experimentation. “They don’t want the Betty Crocker recipe. They just want a picture, if that can be coupled with a button that says here’s how you cook your pork properly. You take it, you plug in your specs on it, you take it to the oven and then it rings when you have to do this, it rings when you have to do that. It will make it easier.”

Regardless of your definition of “local,” more and more consumers just want to know where their food is coming from, and possibly even seeing who produced it.

“For 20 to 30 years we have seen chefs become the celebrities of the food world,” Lempert says. “Those days are over, they’re gone. Today’s celebrity is all about the farmer. Enter the world of the celebrity farmers who are out there really communicating their passion about their farm, their passion about their global environment, and their passion about food.”

Understand science for most efficient pig cooling

National Pork Board Barn misters keep hogs cool in hot temperatures.

By Brett C. Ramirez, Iowa State University Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Graduate Research Assistant
How do current cooling systems keep our pigs cool? Once equipped with an understanding of how these technologies work, we can make improved management decisions and reduce the impacts of heat stress. As summer continues to ramp up and the negative economic impacts of heat stress well established, this is a perfect opportunity to dive into why we use current cooling systems and what can be checked to improve cooling.

As briefly discussed in last month’s column, pigs have a variety of ways to lose their excess generated metabolic heat to the environment, but are generally regarded to be not very good at losing heat. Lacking the ability to sweat doesn’t help either.

With that in mind, we’ll go through the three methods of cooling commonly used for finishing pigs: elevated airspeeds, direct and indirect cooling. Elevated airspeeds (i.e., goal of tunnel ventilation or stir fans) to remove excess heat is effective if the air temperature is less than the pig’s skin temperature. Luckily, in the situations when the temperature gradient is small, the evaporation of water is available. When water changes phase, from a liquid to a vapor (i.e., evaporation), heat is needed. Heat is removed from a source to replace the heat removed when the water evaporates — then the temperature of the source is decreased. So, heat can be removed from the air passing through the evaporative cool pad or the pad itself (indirect cooling) or directly from the pig’s skin once wetted (direct cooling).

Indirect cooling
As outside air enters a cool pad, heat is removed from the wet pad and the air as the sprayed water evaporates. This causes the exiting air temperature to decrease (since heat was removed for evaporation) and the moisture in the air to increase. The pigs then experience cooler, but more humid, air. What is important? Outside air temperature and moisture, pad thickness, pad face velocity and room airspeed (more on that later). The amount of heat that can be removed depends on how much capacity that incoming outside air has to hold moisture. For example, assuming a 75% efficient cool pad (which is fairly common), air at 90 degrees F, 20% (relative humidity) can be cooled to about 67 degrees F, 75%. While air at 90 degrees F, 60% can only be cooled to 81 degrees F, 90%. Further, pad thickness and face velocity are important factors in efficiency. High pad airspeeds reduce pad contact time decreasing efficiency and potentially increasing fan energy due to higher operating static pressure.

Direct cooling
In contrast to cool cells, heat is removed directly from the pig. As air moves over wetted skin, the water evaporates taking heat away from the pig. What is important? Air temperature and moisture, wetted area and room airspeed (more on that later). Just like in indirect cooling, the air must be able to hold the additional moisture from evaporation. Further, the pig can lose more heat if more of its skin is wet. Verifying sprinklers have sufficient pressure and large droplets that cover a large portion of the pen (so pigs can access it) is necessary.

Room airspeed
Airspeed is a critical parameter determining how much heat can be removed, and when coupled with a cooling method, becomes very powerful. First without cooling — as mentioned before, a temperature gradient must exist; hence, as the air temperature approaches the skin temperature of the pig (which is roughly 90 degrees F in warm/hot conditions), very little to no heat can be removed (regardless of airspeed). As airspeed increases, more heat can be removed, but this diminishes quickly past about 400 fpm. The pig’s orientation within the flow (i.e., body perpendicular or parallel) also plays a role on how much heat the pig can release. This allows them to self-regulate based on their needs.

Airspeed with indirect cooling
The air temperature is cooler but with more moisture, so if we also increase the airspeed with this cooler air, we can remove more heat (think wind-chill). We have to make sure the pig is losing enough heat to this larger temperature gradient and does not need to use additional physiological responses that require evaporation (e.g., respiration) because that cool and moist air may not have the capacity to hold more water vapor. The key is to not under size fans just because the air is cooler. Also, not enough fan capacity still leads to heat accumulation in the room, even if the air temperature is cooler.

Airspeed with direct cooling
Elevated airspeeds are essential to increase the evaporation rate of water on the pigs and subsequently the heat loss. Sprinklers with tunnel airspeeds combined are very powerful at removing heat. It can sometimes be too powerful depending on the size of the pig, airspeed and temperature (think getting out of shower and standing in front of a fan). Insufficient airspeeds can lead to slow water evaporation and if the pigs are not drying, they are not losing heat. It is important to match sprinkler off time with how long it takes the water to evaporate from their skin. Sprinkler on time is dictated by the time required to properly cover the pigs with surface water and once established, rarely needs to be changed.

The evaporation of water is a powerful and relatively inexpensive method for cooling pigs. Whether it be taken advantage of by indirect cooling (i.e., evaporative cool cells) or direct cooling (i.e., sprinkling), it can help reduce the impacts of heat stress. Our discussions will resume in August. Stay tuned!

AMSA recognizes Hodgen with Distinguished Achievement Award

The American Meat Science Association has chosen Jennie Hodgen, Ph.D., Merck Animal Health, as one of three recipients of its 2017 Distinguished Achievement Award. This prestigious honor is bestowed to AMSA members who have demonstrated noteworthy scientific skills in muscle foods research and technology that contribute to the animal products industry.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized by the American Meat Science Association, especially because this is an organization that has been such an integral and impactful part of my career,” says Hodgen, senior account manager and meat scientist, Veterinary and Consumer Affairs. “As a meat scientist working to educate consumers, I am able to combine my two passions every day — science and agriculture. To be recognized for exploring my passions is amazing and confirms my work, as well as that of many others, is making an impact.” 

The landscape in all segments of the food chain is ever evolving with an emphasis on providing more information. “We know that we’ve got a significant challenge in front of us to help educate and communicate — with an emphasis on reaching the public,” says Judson Vasconcelos, DVM, Ph.D., executive director, Veterinary and Consumer Affairs. “Dr. Hodgen’s work in this area has undoubtedly had a positive impact on our ability to connect with consumers by helping to shape the messaging and needed transparency. Her passion will continue to drive her, as well as our commitment to being change agents to enhance and magnify the fundamental platform on which our business is built — The Science of Healthier Animals.”

At Merck Animal Health, Hodgen serves as a meat scientist, facilitating research trials, engaging in animal welfare issues and fostering relationships with our food retail service partners. Before joining the company in 2008, she worked as a consultant to assist small processors to ensure compliance with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points and help foodservice establishments train employees for food sanitation certifications.

Hodgen is Region One director of American CattleWomen, a member of the Indiana Agricultural Leadership Program and is active within the Indiana Beef Council, as well as a myriad of other industry organizations. Hodgen earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Animal Science and Food Science from Oklahoma State University and obtained a doctorate degree from the University of Nebraska.

For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. Through its commitment to the Science of Healthier Animals, Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest range of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive research and development resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit or connect on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter at @MerckAH.

Agriculture ministers commit to open and transparent trade

USDA photo by Preston Keres USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue with Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food José Calzada Rovirosa in a bilateral meeting
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue with Mexico Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food José Calzada Rovirosa in a bilateral meeting, June 19, 2017. USDA Chief of Staff Heidi Green, Holly Higgins, and John Passino joined Raul Urteaga and Enrique Sanchez Cruz during the meeting.

Source: USDA
Agriculture ministers from the United States, Canada and Mexico gathered in Savannah, Ga., on Tuesday to discuss the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In a joint statement following the conclusion of their first trilateral meetings, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay, and Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture Jose Calzada expressed a mutual commitment to open and transparent trade.

“Our three nations are connected not only geographically, but through our deeply integrated agricultural markets. Our trading relationship is vital to the economies — and the people — of our respective countries. We are working together to support and create good jobs in all three countries. We share a commitment to keeping our markets open and transparent so that trade can continue to grow. That mutual commitment was reaffirmed in our discussions this week.

“The North American Free Trade Agreement has greatly helped our respective agricultural sectors as well as our consumers who have benefited from an ever-growing variety of safe, affordable food products all year around. While even the best trading partnerships face challenges from time to time, our agricultural differences are relatively few in the context of the $85 billion in agricultural trade that flows between our three nations each year.

“Over the years, the United States, Mexico and Canada have also worked collaboratively to protect plant and animal health, conduct joint research and share best practices. These efforts have helped to eradicate several pests and diseases from the region, differentiating us from the rest of the world. Our three countries remain committed to continued collaboration to ensure a safe and reliable regional supply chain that makes the North American agriculture sector more competitive.

“Our visit to Georgia fostered the mutual understanding and personal relationships that will help North American agriculture thrive, improve our regional partnership and collaboration, and strengthen our trading relationship.”


I know it's only June, but no self respecting male would ever deal with Christmas shopping this early, but there may be more incentive than ever to do holiday shopping early as UPS will slap on surcharge for those busy days just before Christmas.

Water standing in places in farm fields in places you wouldn't expect. My farmer friend mentioned it to me this morning. He thinks it's related to last fall's compaction.

Police in central Minnesota are seeking the person who stole the New Holland manure spreader that was sitting out by the road for sale near Wadena.

Will U.S. Open return to Erin Hills? It's likely.


A college boy who traveled to North Korea with Chinese based tour group has died at Cincinnati hospital. He was charged with trying to steal a poster from a hotel. He was sentenced to 15 years hard labor for that. There were no visible signs of injury to his body.

While weekly crop report has corn looking pretty good right now and soil moisture conditions improved with rain last week. While about 50% of U.S. corn in pollination by mid-July, some may not pollinate until August. If look at worst corn right now, it's in some of the major corn producing states.

Has there been training for medical injuries where you work? At Blain's Farm and Fleet they saved their 7th life yesterday. Through staff training and installation of AED, Blain's has been able to jump in and help people in urgent need.

Farm Progress America, June 20, 2017

Max Armstrong looks at the demand picture for pork, which will also impact the pork processing industry. The rising production will be coming from small to mid-size producers and more processing facilities are being built to meet that need.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

What’s the future in transdermal devices in swine?

Thinkstock Vets holding a pig

By Christopher Chase, South Dakota State University Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Improvements in vaccines and their delivery systems that increase vaccine efficacy, safety or compliance, and minimize animal stress are essential in the swine industry. This column updates our 2008 review in Swine Health And Production1, that reviewed needle-free technology and its uses in disease control in swine.

Needle-syringe devices have been the predominant method for vaccine and drug delivery for swine. Although needle-syringe devices are inexpensive and easily adaptable to different settings, needle-free technology offers advantages compared to conventional vaccine delivery methods including elimination of broken needles, consistent vaccine delivery, reduced vaccine volume and higher antigen dispersion, elimination of accidental worker needle sticks, elimination of needle disposal and less pain and stress (Table 1).

South Dakota State University

The elimination of broken needles and accidental needle sticks are important in the U.S. Pork Quality Assurance program and were targeted by the U.S. National Pork Producers Council in the “One Is Too Many” needle awareness campaign and is part of Good Production Practice 4 “Properly Store and Administer Animal Health Product” of National Pork Board’s PQA Plus Program and the avoidance of accidental needle sticks is part of GPP 8 “Maintain Proper Workplace Safety”. (PQA Plus is now a program of the National Pork Board.)

Needle-free injection devices result in a high-pressure stream that penetrates the epidermis, dermis with some subcutaneous penetration (Figure 1, panel A). NFID-administered swine vaccines can use half to a tenth of the dose required for intramuscular vaccines because of the higher antigen dispersion and contact with the antigen presenting cells found in skin (Figure 2). The number of needle-stick injuries associated with swine workers is unknown, but needle-stick injuries caused the highest number of physical injuries in swine veterinarians with 580 out of 794 (73%) surveyed veterinarians suffering injuries. Thirty-six percent of these injuries resulted in adverse effects (pain, local swelling, hematoma, infection, superficial abscess and cellulitis). In people, the newer generation needle-free devices have been shown to decrease pain and stress at the time of vaccination compared to needle-syringe devices, although there have been some complaints of post-vaccination pain.

South Dakota State University

Figure 1: Immunization by cutaneous routes. A) Liquid-jet injection delivers vaccine to muscular, subcutaneous or dermal regions, depending on the parameters of the injection. B) Epidermal powder immunization delivers vaccine powders to the superficial layers of the skin (that is, the epidermis and the superficial layers of the dermis), where they are recognized by Langerhans cells. C)Topical application of vaccines delivers vaccines to the epidermis, where they are recognized and processed by Langerhans cells. Immunization by topical vaccine application is facilitated by several methods. Ca) DNA immunization can be carried out through hair follicles. Cb) Tape stripping removes the stratum corneum and facilitates vaccine absorption. Cc) Thermal or radio-wave-mediated ablation of the stratum corneum creates micropores that increase vaccine delivery. Cd) Colloidal carriers such as microemulsions and transfersomes increase dermal absorption of topically applied vaccines. Ce) Low-frequency ultrasound is an adjuvant for topically applied vaccines, and it also increases vaccine delivery to the skin. Cf) Topically applied adjuvants, such as cholera toxin, can induce potent immune responses. Cg) Electroporation of the stratum corneum increases the delivery of DNA vaccines to the epidermis. Ch) Shallow microneedles that penetrate into the epidermis deliver vaccines effectively. Reprinted with permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd.5

Charles Nfon and William Golde, Plum Island Animal Diseases Center, Agricultural Research Service, USDA

Figure 2: The distribution of dendritic cells in the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue in the pig. Dendritic cells are stained brown.

Needle-free devices also have disadvantages, including start-up cost of the equipment, exhaustible gas-storage infrastructure (for those systems using compressed or CO2 gas system), technical and operational expertise (training of the operators and maintenance of the units), and inability to completely replace needle-syringe devices in the swine production unit (Table 1). The cost of the equipment varies depending on the type of infector for the needle-free swine units and there are additional associated costs with maintenance and infrastructure especially with compressed gas devices. Needle-free application requires a consistent application method. Needle-free devices are calibrated to deliver the vaccine when the needle-free device is perpendicular (90 degrees) to the skin. Vaccinations made at more acute or oblique angles will affect the distribution of the vaccine in the tissue. In addition, because of the moving parts and gas system, regular maintenance is required.

Finally, there is no “one-size-fits-all” needle-free device for all applications that require injections. Varying pig age, treatment dose and viscosity of injection substance require different injection volume, injection pressure and even different NFIDs (Table 1). Adoption of needle-free devices has increased in the U.S. swine industry since 2008. One major swine processor that processes 5% of pigs in the United States requires that animals never receive needle injections (CS Daniels, personal communication, 2016).

Still the adoption in the United States has been slow. Reasons for this low industry implementation rate involve cost of the unit and associated maintenance and infrastructure costs, higher complexity than needle-syringe device, availability of devices (a smaller handheld injector that is used in Europe is not available in the United States), uncertainty if the animal was vaccinated (i.e., no physical sensation that the animal was vaccinated and/or a “wet” appearance at the injection site), and requirement for training.

There have been several developments with transdermal devices and porcine respiratory and reproductive virus vaccines since the 2008 review. A PRRSV vaccine has been licensed in Europe for use with transdermal devices. Two papers comparing intramuscular needle administration to transdermal administration of PRRSV demonstrated similar immune response vaccines.2,3 More importantly, protection was seen against a heterologous PRRSV challenge at a similar rate between the two routes with one-tenth the volume of vaccine being administered by the TD route.3

One of the reasons for the use of TD devices has been the assumption that these devices would limit animal-to-animal spread compared to needle administration. Vaccination of a PRRSV-positive animal using a TD device spread PRRSV to negative animals 25% of the time compared to 100% in animals with the needle administration.4 Although this certainly decreases spread, it illustrates that PRRSV can be spread by TD devices.

In conclusion, TD devices have many advantages in delivering vaccines and drugs in swine. However, they require excellent training of personnel and excellent maintenance of the equipment.

1) Chase, C., Daniels, C. S., Garcia, R., Milward, F., and Nation, T. (2008). Needle-free injection technology in swine: Progress toward vaccine efficacy and pork quality. J Swine Health and Production, 16(5), 254–261.

2) Martelli, P., Cordioli, P., Alborali, L. G., Gozio, S., De Angelis, E., Ferrari, L., et al. (2007). Protection and immune response in pigs intradermally vaccinated against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) and subsequently exposed to a heterologous European (Italian cluster) field strain. Vaccine, 25(17), 3400–3408.

3) Martelli, P., Gozio, S., Ferrari, L., Rosina, S., De Angelis, E., Quintavalla, C., et al. (2009). Efficacy of a modified live porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus vaccine in pigs naturally exposed to a heterologous European (Italian cluster) field strain: Clinical protection and cell-mediated immunity. Vaccine, 27(28), 3788–3799.

4) Baker, S. R., Mondaca, E., Polson, D., & Dee, S. A. (2012). Evaluation of a needle-free injection device to prevent hematogenous transmission of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus. Journal of Swine Health and Production, 20(3), 123–128.

5) Mitragotri, S. (2005). Immunization without needles. Nature Reviews Immunology, 5(12), 905–916.