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PRRS project is having a good affect

PRINSBURG, Minn. -Randy Koehl has seen the benefits of a voluntary PRRS Elimination Project in Stevens County. Now he wants other pork producers to join the effort.

PRINSBURG, Minn. -Randy Koehl has seen the benefits of a voluntary PRRS Elimination Project in Stevens County. Now he wants other pork producers to join the effort.

Koehl recently brought his message to Prinsburg where more than 30 pork producers and stakeholders learned about the voluntary, producer-driving effort.

Target counties for the latest regional effort are Benton, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Pope, Stearns and Swift with other neighboring counties encouraged to take part.

The Stevens County voluntary PRRS Elimination Project started in 2004. It expanded to six counties surrounding Stevens in 2009 and expanded again last year to include the area North of Highway 212. The group meets quarterly.

Veterinarian Dave Wright is coordinating the project north of Highway 212.

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"This is a voluntary program, " said Koehl, who operates a hog farm and feed business with his family near Hancock. "I think you need to be open with one another. If you have PRRS, don't hide it. Let's help each other out."

It might mean working with a feed supplier so deliveries are made on a Friday to allow the supplier to wash their truck after delivery, he said. It could involve telling a hog-raising neighbor so they can change their travel path away from the infected herd.

Pork producers involved in the Stevens County area PRRS elimination project took their efforts to the county fair. Young people were encouraged to show pigs born and raised in Stevens County, he said.

Wright stressed that the effort isn't a government program.

The goals of the Voluntary PRRS Elimination Project is to identify swine herds in the area and invite producer participation. Hog producers are encouraged to sign a participation agreement. The PRRS status of the herds will also be determined.

There are other on-going project efforts in the state including one in Pipestone and another in southeast Minnesota, Wright said. Twenty projects are active across the United States. The national effort is driven by producers, veterinarians and stakeholders.

Swine Vet Center veterinarian Brad Leuwerke of St. Peter said PRRS can cost $74.16 per litter in the breeding and farrowing area. The costs result from a reduction in pigs weaned and a reduction in the farrowing rate, he said.

Nursery costs average $6.01 per pig with increased mortality, reduced feed conversion and reduced average daily gain.

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In the grower and finisher area, it can cost $7.67 per pig with increased mortality and reduced feed conversion and average daily gain.

Options to manage herd outbreaks include controlling the impact.

PRRS elimination tools include whole herd depopulation and repopulation, testing and removal of hogs, an all-in, all-out pig flow, herd stabilization from load, close, expose, gilt acclimation and a partial depopulation of the herd.

More hog sites have been identified with fewer positive sites in the region with a reduced prevalence of PRRS.

There may still be PRRS outbreaks. But by working together, outbreaks can be controlled.

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