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September 09, 2013

Custom manure applicators asked to help prevent spread of virus among pigs

ST. PAUL, Minn. (9/9/2013)—With the harvest season fast approaching, the field application of stored manure from animal facilities will soon follow. This year, pork producers need to be aware of the risk of spreading porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) through equipment used to pump and apply manure on land.

This is important on all farms but especially those with pigs exhibiting clinical signs of the disease.
PED is a viral enteric disease affecting only swine; clinical symptoms are diarrhea, fever, vomiting and death (age dependent). PED was first detected in the United States this spring. It can can be spread through oral-fecal contact, manure-contaminated boots, clothing, birds and wildlife, transport trailers and other equipment.

Spread of the virus continues. As of Sept. 1, the disease had been confirmed on more than 500 U.S. swine herds. For farmers with pigs exhibiting clinical signs of PED, it's both both good animal husbandry practice and a good neighbor policy to get a confirmed diagnosis. Enhanced biosecurity practices should be established immediately to avoid spreading the virus among other animals within a herd, as well as neighboring farms.

Equipment can easily spread this virus to uninfected farm properties because many pork producers hire commercial manure applicators to pump and land apply their manure from a farm's storage pits, tanks and basins. In response to this urgent concern, the National Pork Board (NPB) and several Midwestern universities (Michigan State University, Iowa State University and University of Minnesota) have released a one-page fact sheet with biosecurity recommendations commercial manure haulers should follow to reduce the risk of spreading this virus.

The fact sheet emphasizes the need for the manure applicator to communicate closely with pork producers when pumping manure on a farm. Good communication helps reduce the risk of transferring this virus by manure handling equipment either from or to the farm. The fact sheet is available at:

Media Contact: Allison Sandve, U of M Extension, (612) 626-4077,
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