Take Care Spreading Pig Manure This Fall

Farmers, custom manure applicators are asked to help prevent spread of pig PED virus.

Published on: Sep 12, 2013

With harvest season approaching, farmers will be applying stored manure to fields.

Larry Jacobson, University of Minnesota Extension agricultural engineer, reminds pork producers that this year, they need to be aware of the risk of spreading porcine epidemic diarrhea through equipment used to pump and apply manure on land.

This is important on all farms, Jacobson said, 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. PED was first detected in the United States this spring. PED can be spread through oral-fecal contact, manure contaminated boots, clothing, birds and wildlife, transport trailers, and other equipment.

Take Care Spreading Pig Manure This Fall
Take Care Spreading Pig Manure This Fall

Spread of the virus continues. As of Sept. 1, the disease had been confirmed on more than 500 U.S. swine herds, Jaconson said.

"It's both a good animal husbandry practice and a good neighbor policy for all pork farmers with pigs exhibiting clinical signs of PED to obtain a confirmed diagnosis," he said. "Then, establish enhanced biosecurity practices immediately to avoid spreading the virus among their own animals and/or to neighboring swine herds."

Equipment can easily spread this virus from infected farms and barns to uninfected farms and barns because many pork producers hire commercial manure applicators to pump and land apply their manure from a farm's storage pits, tanks, and/or basins.

In response to this urgent concern, the National Pork Board and several Midwestern universities, including U-M, Michigan State University and Iowa State University, have produced 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 pork producers when pumping manure on a farm. Good communications helps reduce the risk of transferring this virus by manure handling equipment either from or to the farm. The fact sheet is available at: http://z.umn.edu/preventped.

To learn more about manure management from Extension, visit www.extension.umn.edu/manure-management-and-air-quality