African swine fever (ASF) dominated the symposium of pig farmers in the meat producers’ association of Upper Franconia at the "goldene rose" restaurant on Tuesday in grub am forst. While thuringia’s agriculture minister birgit keller (left) expects an outbreak of the disease soon, people in bavaria are holding back on forecasts.
Hunters are challenged
keller referred to a sick animal in early january in the czech republic. Alexander troullier of the coburg district office gave a comprehensive overview of the spread of african swine fever. In view of the current course of the epidemic in europe, the hunting community in particular is called upon to report an increased occurrence of fallen game and to have samples officially clarified. measures have already been taken in germany and thuringia to be prepared for such a case. Although the disease is a major threat to domestic pigs and therefore a major economic risk for livestock farmers, there is no need to panic. He made it clear that the disease is not dangerous for humans.
Originally from southern africa, the disease reached sardinia in 1978. Since 2007 she has been performing in russia and in 2014 she came to poland, lithuania, estonia and latvia. Since june 2017, the disease has been detected in the czech republic and romania. The virus remains in preserved ham for up to six months, in chilled blood for up to 18 months and in frozen carcasses for many years. "The risk of introducing ASF into the wild boar population is greater than for the first introduction into domestic pigs", the veterinarian noted. The consequences in the event of an outbreak of the disease would be the immediate closure of third-country markets and trade restrictions in the EU’s internal market. This has resulted in massive sales difficulties and a drop in prices.
Shooting premium for wild boar
"despite record numbers reported annually, wild boar populations continue to increase", according to the speaker. In 2016, the population exceeded 90,000 animals. Therefore, hunting strategies should be further developed, disease prevention intensified and disease control optimized. Crisis management exercises would have to be carried out and animal transport vehicles close to the border would have to be disinfected. In addition, a draft regulation to protect against the spread of the virus should be drawn up as a matter of urgency. the government could order measures regarding the killing of wild boar for the district at risk.
In the high-risk zone, passive monitoring of all dead feral pigs must be carried out. Similar to the Czech Republic, 160 euros should be paid for each dead wild boar found. A hunting ban, feeding ban and harvesting ban had to be issued and an electric fence erected around the zone. Removal and sampling should only take place under supervision. Bans on keeping domestic pigs outdoors and feeding green fodder from the endangered area are necessary, he said.
the chairman of the meat producers’ ring of upper franconia, jan schrijer, reported on the current situation in the pig sector. After several years of stability, prices for fattening pigs have plummeted. Pig farmers receive just 1.28 euros for one kilogram of slaughter weight. at the beginning of october, the price was still 1.53 euros. "In pig fattening, satisfactory profitability is not currently being achieved", he said. Production costs would be far below the proceeds.
It is also clear that the general conditions are posing increasing problems for pig farmers," the veterinarian said.
The business situation and the outlook for the future were a central topic of the meeting. New challenges such as the animal welfare initiative and antibiotic monotoring also need to be mastered by pig farmers. "Not everything that is called animal welfare is actually animal welfare", according to schrijer. "It’s about time to protect animals from politicians as well."
the technical director of the meat producers’ ring, rudiger wintersperger from the coburg office for food, agriculture and forestry, backed up the presentations with figures. In Upper Franconia, there were 200,322 animals in the barns in the 2016/17 fiscal year. The pen weight was 30.4 and the final fattening weight 122.8 kilograms. Feed costs were 54.7 and piglet costs were 70.4 euros. Gross revenue per animal averaged 171.70 euros. Organized piglet fattening farms decreased from 257 to 96 in Upper Franconia in ten years.