Pig producers question antibiotic use

Antibiotic use in pigs is likely to become a focus in the future as Danish producers are already using three times less than the UK.

That was according to David Strachan, swine and sales marketing manager at Boehringer Ingelheim at last week’s Pig and Poultry LIVE, who explained the importance of controlling subclinical disease in order to meet the two-tonne sow target.

He said the Danes would likely use the “less antibiotic issue” as a way of marketing their meat and Mr Strachan stressed the importance for attention to detail in cutting clinical disease and antibiotic use.

“The barrier to meeting the two-tonne sow target is disease. Pre-weaning diarrhoea and the effect on weaning weight is huge,” he said.

“Environment and biosecurity is vital when it comes to controlling disease. Regional health initiatives are a good idea but they need a buy in from everyone. In Denmark they have an open system of health declarations and this seems to work well.”

The UK is currently only producing 1,650kg of pigmeat a year compared to 2.2t of pigmeat by the Danes. And the only way Mr Strachan believes we are ever going to meet the two-tonne sow target is by controlling disease. “This can only be done by attention to detail, biosecurity and co-ordinated disease prevention network,” he said.