Upwards of four-million pigs have died in the PEDV outbreak that began last spring and Craig Rowels of Iowa is among the producers who have suffered some of those losses. The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus hit his young hogs last November and December. Rowels says there’s an emotional toll that the disease takes on humans because “no one likes to see animals suffer.” He says Dan and Corey, a manager and assistant manager of one of his sow farms, normally get to deal with the miracle of birth every day, but, PEDv changed that. Rowels tells Brownfield Ag News, “When they had to start to deal with this particular disease you could just see the tears in their eyes because they knew that tomorrow we weren’t going to be dealing with the miracle of birth. We’re going to be dealing with the issues of a devastating disease that causes death and sickness and that they were going to have to make some real hard decisions.”
He says their increased biosecurity measures have helped, “They’ve stuck with it. They’ve really, really had to limit the impact of the disease by doing the exposure processes, by really getting down and using the elbow grease necessary to get the cleaning and disinfection procedures in place and as a result we are now in the recovery phase in our operation.” He says they’ve increased the heat for cleaning barns and equipment. The PED virus is weakened by heat. Rowels says they lost three weeks of production in the outbreak.
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