Hog Producer Discusses Impact of Virus on Herd

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Published on May 7 2014 1:49 pm
Last Updated on May 7 2014 1:51 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Pork producers locally and globally have been dealing with a virus that has caused significant losses to their herds and to their income.  The virus was discussed, along with its impact, at the May 7 meeting of the Effingham Noon Rotary Club.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus was first confirmed in the United States about one year ago.  The virus results in dehydration due to diarrhea and vomiting.  The mortality has been almost 100% in preweaned pigs in previously naive herds.

(LEFT TO RIGHT, JOHN LICHTHARDT, WES PITCHER AND AMANDA WADDELL)

Wes Pitcher, who was invited by his daughter, Noon Rotarian Amanda Waddell, to address the issue, has been an area pork producer for 30 years.  Pitcher and John Lichthardt, who works with him on Pitcher's hog operation, said 50% of farms have been affected.  The origin of the virus has not been determined and the men said as temperatures are warming, its effect is lessening.  Since a cure hasn't been found, though, there is concern that it will resurface once fall weather arrives.

Don Sandschafer of Effingham Equity, who is a Noon Rotarian, and Pitcher believe the virus is moved around by transport.  Sandschafer said he knows of only one sow producer in the area who has not been affected by the virus.

Despite the impact of the virus, Lichthardt said he doesn't think the impact on consumer prices for pork will be great, since hogs are raised to varying weights and healthy hogs raised to heavier weights will help make up for the loss of the other pigs.  Lichthardt also said there is no health hazard to humans from the virus.