June 30, 2021


New electronic recording system to help protect Australia's pork industry from diseases



Data Pig, a novel electronic recording system developed by Apiam Animal Health, will be at the forefront of protecting Australia's $5 billion pork industry from potential decimation caused by diseases.


Apiam's team of swine veterinarians have spent four years and more than $1 million developing the delivery platform, which is being rolled out nationally.


The company's managing director, Chris Richards, said Data Pig will enhance the Australian pig industry's disease surveillance capabilities by allowing real-time monitoring of clinical signs of disease, treatment events and mortalities.


"The success of eradicating diseases such as African swine fever, foot and mouth disease and the likes of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome… is intimately linked to the time lag from incursion to detection and then to identification." Dr. Richards said.


"A proven and tested resource such as Data Pig, which works on-farm, hand in hand with producers backed up by their veterinarians, will initially be the canary in the coalmine and then first responder."


A member of Australian Pork Limited's Biosecurity Review Panel and African Swine Fever Advisory Panel, Dr Richards has spent 20 years as a veterinary leader in the pig industry.


Today, Apiam Animal Health is ASX listed and Australia's largest regional and rural veterinary network, incorporating 38 veterinary clinics and 56 locations across the pig, dairy, feedlot, sheep, poultry, equine and companion animal sectors, and employing more than 200 industry leading veterinarians.


Data Pig's nationwide launch will assist pork producers, in partnership with their veterinarians, to upscale record keeping, enhance antimicrobial stewardship, better monitor pig health and treatments in real-time and improve quality assurance and compliance. According to Apiam swine business manager Dr. Tom Harrison, Data Pig will accomplish this by more accurately recording medication administration, using PowerBI reports for real-time monitoring, integrating veterinary approved medication lists and generating APIQ compliant digital records.


The pen-side application synchronises with veterinary prescribed medication lists and provides accurate medical treatments and dosage instructions based on animal class, numbers and clinical signs of disease.


Dr. Harrison said that Apiam focuses on shaping the best, possible future for Australia's pig industry, delivering best practice animal health and welfare outcomes.


"To help achieve this, Data Pig comes with a suite of customisable reports to analyse health and production events, monitor trends and enhance biosecurity and surveillance systems," he said.


Apiam's project manager for Data Pig, Sam Weekes, said that Data Pig's user-friendly technology, that features real-time visibility of treatment data, had generated positive responses and early adoption by producers and piggery workers.


"While sometimes onerous manual recording and frequent personal interaction with veterinarians have been the traditional pathways to satisfying regulatory and veterinary requirements, Data Pig offers… a streamlined, remotely accessible electronic data recording system," Dr. Weekes said.


"Adopting Data Pig solves the dilemma posed by distance and isolation, while effectively bringing pork producers and their veterinarians closer together to work in a more controlled, precise virtual workplace to ensure compliance and improve health, productivity and profitability of pig herds."

- Apiam Animal Health