In an effort to assist Eastern European customers in overcoming the current challenges faced by the local swine industry, USSEC invited a team of subject matter experts including Dr. José Manuel Sánchez-Vizcaíno, Dr. Megan C. Niederwerder, Dr. Enrico Marco Granell, and Dr. Gonzalo Mateos to share the most updated information on African Swine Fever virus (ASF). The team also discussed strategies to prevent the spread of the disease and how to eventually eradicate it from the affected areas of Romania.
Hosted by the Romanian Feed Association (ANFNC) in Bucharest, Romania, the USSEC conference “Advances in Swine Nutrition and Diseases” took place on April 2. More than 60 participants from swine integrators, including U.S. soy customers from Romania, Bulgaria and Poland, attended.
The agenda covered key swine nutrition, biosecurity and swine disease-related subjects, which aimed to educate the specialists in charge of biosecurity at swine farms and feed mills. ASF, the current threat to the world swine industry, was the central topic of this event. Recent outbreaks in East European countries have had a serious socioeconomic impact on the farming sector and are of major importance in the international trade of animals and animal products.
Biosecurity at the level of swine farms and feed mills and preventive measures to limit the spread of the disease through different vectors were presented by the keynote speakers, Dr. Niederwerder, Dr. Marco, and Dr. Vizcaino.
Dr. Niederwerder introduced the latest research from Kansas State University, which found that ASF could survive in a simulated feed shipment across the ocean, which suggests that pathogens may potentially spread via feed.
Dr. Sánchez-Vizcaíno, a world authority in ASF, spoke about ways that ASF could spread and infect animals, suggesting the implementation of strict control measures including biosecurity, culling of infected pigs, and reducing the wild boar population, which have managed to contain the spread of the disease in several regions thus far.
Due to the participation of prominent conference speakers and the importance of the topics included in the event’s agenda, a TV crew from Romanian National Television participated in the event to help disseminate the valuable knowledge to Romanian swine farmers.
In addition to his presentation focusing on antibiotic-free swine production, Dr. Mateos emphasized the crucial role of soy and soy products and how they need to be used and regarded within the entire feeding context for antibiotic-free swine diets, focusing on the advantages of U.S. Soy.
Minister Daea and his team welcomed the USSEC delegation and key points of the implemented strategy to fight against the disease were discussed.Romania’s swine industry situation is complex, given its geography, as it borders countries continuing facing ASF outbreaks that have different rules and regulations to fight the spread of the disease. Dr. Sanchez-Vizcaino suggested a set of particular measures to normalize the internal swine market and avoid damages for the local swine commercial production. He also volunteered to train a team of Romanian veterinarians who will be involved in Romania’s ASF eradication at University Complutense Madrid, Spain. Dr. Vizcaino, emphasized the involvement of the authorities and the ability of the Romanian minister to have a comprehensive view of the virus, thanking him for understanding the importance of and addressing the ASF issue.
Commercial swine production is an active market in Romania. Recent outbreaks of ASF have affected about 25 percent of the producing sows of the country’s commercial farms, causing heavy stress for producers. Only competitive swine production units in which biosecurity can be ensured will stay in business. In the short term, Romania has to reorganize its swine operations to become self-sufficient in pork meat. The country’s abundant grain production allows Romania to be in the top three EU grain-producing countries. The situation is different, however, regarding the protein supply, as oilseeds need to be imported.
Although it is currently suffering, pig production in Romania has excellent opportunities ahead due to an increase in grain transformation to feed. Eventually, domestic pork and poultry products will supply the Romanian population, as well as be exported to EU and neighboring countries’ markets. Once rehabilitated, the local swine sector will continue to be a key customer for U.S. Soy.