Latest articles


African swine fever would be a disaster

There is a ‘clear risk’ the swiftly spreading disease could come here, says leading swine health vet

There is a real risk that the African swine fever virus could enter Canada — and if it did, it would be catastrophic, says one of the country’s leading swine health experts. “If Canada got a single case in our country, our borders would close to all nations,” said Dr. Egan Brockhoff, a partner in […] Read more


‘Smart barn’ technology is on its way for pork producers

Sensors and software monitor pigs — and workers — in real time and in new ways

There is no argument new smart technologies are coming in swine production, says an expert in monitoring and task automation in livestock facilities. Tom Stein, senior strategic adviser for Quebec-based Maximus Systems, gave nine examples of “smart barn” technologies already in use or on the way at the recent Banff Pork Seminar. “One must remember, these […] Read more



Officials continue all-out effort to prevent spread of PED

Authorities say it’s ‘good news’ that the devastating disease hasn’t spread, but don’t know how it got here

Contain and pray it doesn’t spread. That sums up the approach officials are taking following the arrival of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) in the province. So far, tests for the PED virus at other farms, assembly yards, abattoirs, and truck washes have come back negative. However, officials also don’t know how the virus made its […] Read more


pigs in the farm

Building immunity to combat PED

There is no vaccine for the deadly virus, so controlled exposure is used to create immunity

Deliberately exposing a sow herd to the virus that causes porcine epidemic diarrhea may seem counterintuitive, but it’s the best option when a facility is infected. “The game plan is that you need to expose the sow population as quickly as possible, whenever the outbreak has occurred in the barn,” said Frank Marshall, owner of […] Read more



PED reaches Alberta — first case of deadly virus confirmed in province

Hog producers warned by pork officials it’s ‘especially critical’ to step up their biosecurity efforts

After years of successfully keeping the deadly PED virus at bay, porcine epidemic diarrhea has been found in Alberta. “The disease was found on Thursday (Jan. 3),” said Javier Bahamon, quality assurance and production manager for Alberta Pork. “It was reported by a private veterinarian to chief provincial offices at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Since […] Read more


Loose housing is a winning approach, says Canadian pork giant

Open sow housing is better for pigs, people, and profits, says Maple Leaf Foods executive

Many questioned whether it would work, but Maple Leaf Foods says open housing is a superior way to raise sows — and will have that system in all of its barns years before it becomes mandatory. “This is part of our vision to be the most sustainable protein company on Earth — part of that […] Read more



Pork producers need to be on guard for African swine fever

The disease is ravaging herds in China and Europe, and could come here through infected feed ingredients

African swine fever hasn’t been found in North America, but pork producers still have reason to be concerned. “If we get it, we cannot control the spread and the whole population will be destroyed by it,” said Javier Bahamon, quality assurance and production manager with Alberta Pork. “Pretty much the whole population of animals needs […] Read more


Pork producers slammed by tariff war call for government aid

The bottom fell out of the pork market this summer and Alberta producers are suffering huge losses

Canadian pork producers need “immediate help” from government to deal with a price plunge sparked by U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariff wars with China and Mexico. “What we’re seeing right now is really bad,” said Darcy Fitzgerald, executive director of Alberta Pork. “And a lot of it has to do with what’s going on with […] Read more



Price plunge spells disaster for Alberta hog farmers

Demand is strong, Canadian packers are short 70,000 hogs weekly, but prices have plunged

A crash in prices — fuelled by Washington’s tariff war — could spell the end for many of Alberta’s dwindling number of hog operations. The sector has already lost half of its hog farms in the past decade and with producers losing $50 on every animal they ship, more are looking at throwing in the […] Read more


Couple weren’t millionaires — so they found a different way to farm

It’s not for everyone, says Ben Campbell, but direct marketing is a low-cost route to farming

Although Ben Campbell is a third-generation rancher, he didn’t have an operation he could take over. And when he looked at the math for starting his own ranch, it was worse than ugly — he figured he’d need $3 million in assets to generate an income of $50,000. “I didn’t have enough money to do […] Read more