Manure Manager

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Scientists explore risk of manure fertilized soils in spreading PED


January 2, 2018, Winnipeg, Man – Scientists with the University of Manitoba are providing valuable information intended to help manage the risks posed by the virus responsible for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea.

Research being conducted by the University of Manitoba’s National Centre for Livestock and the Environment is examining the survivability and infectivity of PEDv in manure and the potential of soils fertilized with infected manure to become a vector for the spread of the disease.

Christine Rawluk, the research coordinator with the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment, says the threat of the spread of this virus has increased substantially.

“When Dr. Ehsan Khafipour began the first project with MLMMI and PAMI in 2014, the incidence of the disease on Manitoba farms was minimal,” she says. “Flash forward a few years and we’re seeing quite a different picture. This was the very first comprehensive study of PED survivability and infectivity in earthen manure storages. A subsequent project that recently concluded focused on PED survivability in soils following surface applications of PED positive manure.”

“The initial work showed that not only can PEDv survive our winters, the virus can potentially replicate throughout the winter in earthen manure storages,” Rawluk adds. “Their recently completed field investigations found detectable levels of the virus in soil samples collected three weeks after surface applications. But, in this study, they did not assess the virus infectivity. It was not part of what was undertaken but they see that as a critical first step to understanding the risk posed by soils receiving PED positive manure.”

Rawluk says we still need to understand the potential of the virus to survive in soil and remain infective following land application of infected manure and determine the potential of this soil to become a vector for spreading this disease.

She says planned future PEDv research will examine the survivability and infectivity when infected manure is applied to different soil types under different climate conditions.