Health Status, Facilities, Management Key in Success of Antibiotic Free Production

Farmscape for January 19, 2018

A veterinarian with South West Ontario Veterinary Services suggests the overall health status of the swine herd, that farm's facilities and equipment and management are key factors that should be considered when looking at the option of moving to antibiotic free production.
"Transition to Antibiotic-Free Production-On-Farm Management Strategies" was among the topics discussed last week as part of the 2018 Banff Pork Seminar.
Dr. Greg Wideman, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with South West Ontario Veterinary Services, says there is a number of different programs in Canada and even  more in the U.S. for antibiotic free production.

Clip-Dr. Greg Wideman-South West Ontario Veterinary Services:
In my opinion antibiotic free production requires a higher level of management in all areas than conventional production.
We have many clients of our vet practice who have the management skills and the team in place to successfully do it.
More specifically the right health status, freedom from certain really important diseases, I would say would be critical.
Then in addition to that having good facilities in a good geographical region where we can anticipate staying free of those critical diseases is also pretty important.
We just have fewer tools in the toolbox to manage bacterial infections when we are working on an antibiotic free program.
So really a key pillar then for success is let's not let those bacteria into the farm to begin with.
A farm that has maybe a complicated history of getting new infections, either bacterial or viral over history, that would be the type of farm that we have to be pretty cautious I would say at approaching antibiotic free production.

Dr. Wideman says there are opportunities available for most pork producers across the country.
However he warns there are some cautionary tales where the supply of antibiotic free livestock, chickens specifically, outstrips the demand and that can make it difficult to find the value proposition.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork