• A cross-sectional survey on respiratory disease in a cohort of Irish pig farms

      Rodrigues da Costa, Maria; Fitzgerald, Rose Mary; Manzanilla, Edgar Garcia; O’Shea, Helen; Moriarty, John; McElroy, Máire C.; Leonard, Finola Catherine; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship; 14/5/832 (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-11-21)
      Background Respiratory disease is one of the most important factors impacting pig production worldwide. There is no available information on the prevalence of key pathogens implicated in Irish pig production. The objective of this study was to describe the prevalence of pleurisy, pneumonia, lung abscesses, pericarditis and liver milk spots in finisher pigs of a cohort of Irish pig farms, and to describe the seroprevalence of: influenza A virus (IAV), porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv), Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (Mhyo) and Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (APP). Results In brief, 56 farrow-to-finish farms (29% of the Irish breeding herd) were enrolled in the study in 2017. Data on lungs, heart, and liver lesions were assessed for each farm at slaughter. An average of 417 (range 129–1154) plucks per farm were assessed for pleurisy, pneumonia, lung abscesses, pericarditis, and liver milk spots. Blood samples from 32 finisher pigs were collected at slaughter for each farm. The observed prevalence of pleurisy and pneumonia was one of the lowest reported in similar studies in Europe (13 and 11% estimated average within farm, respectively). Pleurisy lesions were mostly moderate and severe. Pneumonia lesions affected a low level of lung surface (5.8%). Prevalence of pericarditis was mid-high (8%) and the prevalence of liver milk spots was high, with an average of 29% of the livers affected. For serology, 78.6% of the farms were positive for IAV, 50% were positive for PRRSv, 71.4% were positive for Mhyo, and 98.2% were positive for APP. Influenza virus was the main pathogen associated with pleurisy (P < 0.001) and Mhyo was the main pathogen associated with pneumonia (P < 0.001) and pericarditis (P = 0.024). Conclusions Farms affected with pleurisy had moderate to severe lesions. Farms affected with pneumonia had mild lesions, which could be the effect of the generalised use of Mhyo vaccination in piglets. The seroprevalence of IAV, PRRSv, Mhyo and APP in the present study sample is similar to or lower than in other European countries. Further research on the PRRSv and APP strains circulating in Ireland is necessary to support the design of national or regional control plans.
    • Effect of different cleaning procedures on water use and bacterial levels in weaner pig pens

      Misra, Shilpi; van Middelaar, Corina E.; Jordan, Kieran; Upton, John; Quinn, Amy J.; de Boer, Imke J. M.; O’Driscoll, Keelin; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship; Teagasc Internal Funding; 2017147; et al. (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2020-11-17)
      Pork is one of the most globally eaten meats and the pig production chain contributes significantly to the water footprint of livestock production. However, very little knowledge is available about the on-farm factors that influence freshwater use in the pig production chain. An experiment was conducted to quantify the effect of three different washing treatments on freshwater use, bacterial levels [(total bacterial counts; TBC), Enterobacteriaceae and Staphylococcus] and cleaning time in washing of pens for weaning pigs. Three weaner rooms were selected with each room having 10 pens and a capacity to hold up to 14 pigs each. Pigs were weaned and kept in the pens for 7 weeks. Finally, the pens were cleaned before the next batch of pigs moved in. The washing treatments used were power washing and disinfection (WASH); presoaking followed by power washing and disinfection (SOAK), and presoaking followed by detergent, power washing and disinfection (SOAK + DETER). A water meter was used to collect water use data and swab samples were taken to determine the bacterial levels. The results showed that there was no overall effect of washing treatments on water use. However, there was an effect of treatment on the washing time (p<0.01) with SOAK and SOAK+DETER reducing the washing time per pen by 2.3 minutes (14%) and 4.2 minutes (27%) compared to WASH. Nonetheless, there was an effect of sampling time (before or after washing) (p<0.001) on the levels of TBC and Staphylococcus, but no effect was seen on Enterobacteriaceae levels. Thus, the washing treatments used in this study had no effect on the water use of the pork production chain. Although there was no difference in both water use and bacterial load, from a producer perspective, presoaking and detergent use can save time and labour costs, so this would be the preferred option.
    • Modeling restricted feeding conditions on cows' feeding behavior on pasture-based milk production systems to develop a decision support system

      Shafiullah, AZM; Werner, J; Kennedy, E; Leso, L.; O'Brien, B; Umstätter, C; Science Foundation Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship; 13/IA/1977 (The Organising Committee of the 9th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming (ECPLF), Teagasc, 2019)
      The aim of this study was to identify a set of feeding behaviour and activity related variables that could potentially detect a shortage of feed for the individual cow on pasture. A group of lactating cows was offered 100% of their intake capacity as herbage allowance throughout a 10-week experimental period, while another group was offered 60% of their intake allowance, either for a two week or six week period in springtime. Each cow was equipped with an automated noseband sensor. The data was analyzed by using a binomial generalized lineal model (GLM). The GLM was examined for the classification of full or restricted herbage allowance as a function of a previously identified set of characteristics. The model was further refined by including additional characteristics, which achieved higher prediction performance. The refined model achieved 77% accuracy, 75% sensitivity, 78% specificity and F-score 0.76 towards a decision support system for grass utilization in pasture based milk production.