Reducing Secondary Complications in PRRS Infected Pigs

There is no doubt that the PRRS virus is a vital health concern for swine producers. PRRS (porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome) is a highly infectious and deadly virus. It is reported that PRRS is the most economically significant disease to affect US swine production since the eradication of classical swine fever (CSF). But EPI Air may help.

EPI Air may help PRRS infected pigs fight secondary infections. USDA-ARS tests have shown ionization to reduce pathogens in the air. Also, cleaner air leads to fewer challenges of the pigs’ respiratory systems. These two factors may help PRRS-infected pigs avoid secondary complications.

Dr. Gary Bradley, Research Center Coordinator at Murphy-Brown LLC directed trials of the EPI Technology in their nursery facilities. At a recent Pork Expo, he was asked if EPI technology could possibly reduce the movement of the PRRS Virus, Bradley only ventured, “That might be a possibility. I don’t think the negative ions could eliminate the virus from the barn. However, combined with the overhead positioning of EPI units perhaps a portable unit used at floor level could be ‘zapping’ viruses after the wash down.” He speculates there likely will be additional technology that branches off from the current EPI system. As a research scientist he’s more than willing and ready to further explore new ideas. “Preliminary results were phenomenal in our nursery units so we’re totally open to stretching our minds about a further spin off of EPI technology.”

The Canadian government also sees potential with the EPI Air and improving the productivity of hog herds while boosting the bottom line for those in the hog industry. The government of Canada, in support of the Manitoba Pork Council, is investing over $150,000 to help improve the air quality in swine barns with the EPI Air System. PRRS is reported to cost the Canadian industry an estimated $130 million per year; so using the EPI Air system to reduce and prevent the airborne transmission of PRRS is a sound investment.

EPI Air has been proven to increase average daily gain, increase average weights, and decrease mortalities. Knowing that the EPI Air makes such a significant impact on overall swine performance provides a positive outlook towards the possibilities that EPI Air also holds for PRRS.

Clean Air at the Allen D. Lehman Swine Conference

Leaders from the swine industry across the globe will be coming to the beautiful state of Minnesota this weekend. They are coming not just to see the beautiful fall colors, but to attend an internationally acclaimed Swine Conference.  The Allen D. Lehman Swine Conference, put on by the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medicine’s continuing education program, will be at the St. Paul River Centre in St. Paul, Minnesota on Sept. 15-18, 2012.

swine conferenceAllen D. Lehman was a University of MN Extension Veterinarian who initiated the conference in 1974 to give practitioners a forum to discuss important issues in the swine industry.  Lehman worked to define the links between swine disease and swine production. After Lehman’s death in 1994, the conference was renamed in his honor for his dedication to education in practicing veterinarians. Today, hundreds of participants from over 20 countries attend.

This conference is a great place to discuss best practices, challenges, and the latest innovations in the swine industry. Besides the great conference and pre-conference programs and poster presentations, many of the attendees greatly value the networking that happens in the seminars, hallways, and exhibit hall.  The staff from Baumgartner Environics looks forward to talking with veterinarians and graduate students about swine disease, swine production, and how EPI Air offers solutions through cleaning the air of dust particles for marked improvement in animal growth and livability.


Come visit us in booth #29 at the 2012 Allen D. Lehman Conference in St. Paul, MN!

Want to see the other events we are attending? View BEI’s other upcoming trade shows.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Brandi Buzzard

Recently, Brandi Buzzard, an Agricultural Communicator, Writer, and Scientist who works at Kansas State University, wrote about EPI Air Technology on in an article titled “Airing it Out”. At the Animal Science and Industry Department at Kansas State University some of her responsibilities were to coordinate and conduct research trials aimed at developing low stress production practices for swine and cattle producers. Brandi noted, “While I generally enjoy conducting research in swine barns, I must admit that I don’t enjoy what I unaffectionally call ‘hog barn crud’ or the hacking and coughing I experience for the next 2 days after being in the barns.”

What Brandi experienced is the same poor air quality in the barns that swine, poultry or other livestock livein each day. The employees that work in the enclosed swine facilities breathe in the excessive particulate matter in the air, which also contains high levels of ammonia. Needless to say, the dust, gases, and ammonia can be a concern to animals and humans alike. Brandi feels that EPI Air has great possibilities, “ I think it has huge potential to increase herd respiratory health as well as improve the working environment for employees.”

Another student at K-State Swine unit is currently conducting a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the EPI Air system. Although the study is still going on and the results are not available yet, it looks like a promising solution for swine producers. Brandi is excited to hear the results. She explains, “Well, for starters the amount of dust that is removed from the air is astounding. Seeing all that particulate matter stacked on inanimate objects like fences and the walls really opens your eyes to how much dust is flying around in the air and being ingested by both the employees and the animals. If they’re concerned at all about respiratory health for either, they’ll want to consider EPI.”

Brandi is passionate about agriculture and it shows. She writes about it on her blog and on Twitter. Agriculture employs both her family and her husband’s family, and as Brandi says, “It’s our way of life and all we’ve ever known.” Brandi’s philosophy is “I write and speak out and tell my story – if I can help one more person learn about agriculture, then I’ve done my job.”

Swine Solutions: Clearing the Air

Hubbard Feeds, based out of Mankato, Minnesota, is a leader in providing nutrition and feed for swine and other animals.  Their focus on educating producers about the ties between health and performance of swine is evident through the resources, such as podcasts and newsletters, that they offer their dealers on their website.

In the March 2012 issue of their Swine Solutions Newsletter, Hubbard wrote an article called “Clearing the Air – Negatively Charged Ions Improve Barn Air Quality and Pig Growth”.  The article informs the livestock producers that beyond animal nutrition, air quality in the animals’  barn is also important to their health.  The technology they describe for controlling dust emissions is called EPI (Electrostatic Particle Ionization) and is manufactured by Baumgartner Environics.

The article showcases what both New Fashion Pork and Murphy-Brown have already experienced with EPI – that dust reduction translates to better performance. Dr. Chris Rademacher of Murphy-Brown explains what happens when young pigs inhale dust, “…it robs pigs of some of the energy and nutrients we’re supplying for growth.”

But the benefits of EPI are not just for the animals. There is also an advantage to the surrounding community, as described by John Baumgartner, President of Baumgartner Environics. “If you take 50% or more of the dust out of the air, that’s emissions that never leave the barn, it’s not going out the fan and getting into the outside environment.”

Livestock producers need to be proactive with environmental issues, now more then ever. EPI Air provides an easy and cost effective way to improve agricultural air quality issues.

Read the Complete Article “Clearing the Air” in Hubbard’s Swine Solutions Newsletter