NOVEMBER 30, 2016

| by PROHEALTH consortium

Improving piglet survival: How can genetics and management contribute?

As we apply genetic selection for more prolific sows, the challenges for piglet survival increase; piglets are smaller and more vulnerable at birth, face greater competition for the vital early colostrum intake, and are thus more at risk of dying from hypothermia, starvation and crushing. To address these challenges, the PROHEALTH project is investigating different genetic and management interventions which might improve the vitality of the newborn piglet and the maternal behaviour of the sow in order to reduce mortality risk.

Genetic approaches

A collaborative study between Newcastle University and the JSR Genetics breeding company is looking for new neonatal and maternal ...

NOVEMBER 30, 2016

| by PROHEALTH consortium

Does genetic selection for feed efficiency make pigs more susceptible to production diseases?

Results of three experimental studies conducted by PROHEALTH


A set of experiments of PROHEALTH was designed to investigate a hypothesis about genetic selection in pigs that has been repeatedly formulated, but so far was lacking scientific evidence: It was hypothesized that improved productive traits (e.g. growing fast or using feed efficiently) are gained at the expense of reduced robustness, i.e. reduced capacity of the animal to be in good health and to maintain its performance in suboptimal environments. The reasoning behind this hypothesis is that selection for productive traits might impact the metabolism of the animal in a way that ...

NOVEMBER 30, 2016

| by Prof Tim Benton

Food security and farming intensity

Sustainable Intensification of agricultural production, i.e. producing more from less, has been promoted as the way forward in meeting the challenges of global food security. This is relevant to the objectives of PROHEALTH, which focuses on sustainable control of production diseases in intensive pig and poultry production systems. Here Professor Tim Benton puts forward his views on how food production systems may look in the future. His suggestion is that Sustainable Intensification needs to be broadened by considering the production of higher quality, more sustainable, and even lower volumes of agricultural commodities. This is relevant to how pig and poultry ...

APRIL 21, 2016

| by PROHEALTH consortium

PROHEALTH events in 2016: Conferences, national meetings and farmer training sessions.

Upcoming conferences, national meetings and training workshops

With PROHEALTH in its third year, exciting results are emerging from the scientific work-streams. Many of our project findings will be showcased at prominent European conferences in 2016. But knowledge from PROHEALTH will also be made available for farmers and vets at national level, through dedicated stakeholder workshops. These aim to ensure that the scientific outputs are communicated in a form that can be applied on the farm. PROHEALTH also has a training scheme called ‘Individual Pig Care’, which will be provided free of charge in 5 countries over the course of the project, ...

APRIL 21, 2016

| by PROHEALTH consortium

Production diseases: the costs to poultry producers

Results of an extensive literature survey

Background

Diseases in poultry flocks can lead to substantial economic losses through reduced revenues, for example, from reduced volume or quality of meat or eggs produced, and increased costs of inputs such as feed and labour. However, although this fact is understood, there is little consensus about the level of the economic losses resulting from individual production diseases. In addition, while the costs of prevention measures and treatments may be known, the economic savings they make are often not well understood. Consequently, large numbers of poultry producers may not be implementing economically optimal disease prevention and ...

APRIL 21, 2016

| by PROHEALTH consortium

Foot health in broiler breeders

An important factor for disease management

In intensive poultry production systems good foot pad health is crucial to obtaining high levels of animal welfare and high production yields. Often foot pad health is seen to decline over the production period. It is known that in intensive production systems suboptimal litter quality and high body weight are risk factors in maintaining good foot health. In broiler breeders poor foot pad integrity may subsequently result in an increase in mortality due to septicaemic infections, including infection of the heart valves (endocarditis), and joint infections (arthritis), or decreased egg production due to pain and ...

APRIL 21, 2016

| by PROHEALTH consortium

Causes of piglet neonatal mortality

Conclusions from a PROHEALTH study on French pig farms

Piglet mortality is one of the main issues of concern for the pig industry worldwide, resulting in decreased sow performance and significant economic losses. According to different studies on piglet mortality, crushing and stillbirths are considered as the most important causes of death. The risks for each specific cause of piglet death have not been fully explored. Moreover, current literature does not capture the differences which exist between individual farms and the contribution of these differences to the problem of mortality.

A study conducted by PROHEALTH on French pig farms provides new ...

NOVEMBER 09, 2015

| by PROHEALTH consortium

Production diseases: The cost to pig producers

Results of an extensive literature analysis

Production diseases are costly to pig farms, but exactly how costly? To answer this question, PROHEALTH conducted an extensive literature analysis to establish the overall estimated cost of different production diseases. These are diseases that are persistent in animal production systems. Interventions to prevent them and to treat sick animals require labour and other expensive resources. Alongside the costs of such interventions, these types of diseases can also reduce productivity and so result in further income losses. This can have a substantial impact on the profitability of a farm, as well as affecting animal health ...

NOVEMBER 09, 2015

| by PROHEALTH consortium

Using microarrays to determine farm animal health

How PROHEALTH investigates gene pathways

The PROHEALTH consortium came together with the aim of understanding what factors contribute to production diseases in pigs and chickens across the European Union. One very important aspect of this is to pinpoint which genes are altered when animals are diseased or when they are placed in different farm environments. Many of these changes go unnoticed until they result in poor performance and low productivity. This knowledge could be used to establish best practice, to ensure healthy animals and ultimately increase the amount of money a farm earns from its produce.


Why measure genes?

All living things contain ...