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25 October 2023

A terrific turn out of over 50 pig producers and professionals including Abbey Animal Health’s WA Business Manager Josh Sweeny, all attended the WAPPA Industry Day in Perth. A diverse, strong line up of speakers filled the day, which included WA’s Chief and Deputy Veterinary Officers Dr Michelle Rodan and Dr Marion Seymour, who tackled the pressing issues linked with emergency animal disease preparation and WA’s current response to Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV).

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Director for Regional Compliance Noel Chambers elaborated on DPIRD’s approach to the new amendments to the Animal Welfare Act.

Some intriguing insights into the global and national grain and meat markets, together with economic trends in agriculture were discussed by Matt Dalgeish from Episode 3.

The day concluded with a spectacular presentation from a key WA pig producer in that of Dawson Bradford who opened his farms doors to the diverse mixed farm operation of Hillcroft Farms which he runs in Popanyinning. Dawson provided strong visual insights to his pig production, feed grain and sheep setups, touching upon such topics like ‘being different from the rest’ and utilising tried, proven feed strategies to control P2 backfat and lift feed conversion.

It was an excellent event which allowed both strong networking and learning opportunities for the WA pig producers professionals across the state, reiterating the importance pig production has for the WA agricultural industry.

Dawson Bradford (above) speaking from Hillcroft Farms



29 October 2019

Most producers understand that iron is an essential nutrient for all livestock, vital for producing the proteins that enable red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body and facilitate normal growth. Yet piglets in particular are commonly born with low iron reserves. That’s why it’s become standard global practice to inject piglets with doses of up to 200 milligrams of supplementary iron to prevent anaemia, particularly in the first 60 days of life when their body weight should increase tenfold.

However in doing so, producers bear an important responsibility. Ultimately they’re not just breeding pigs, but preparing a food product for human consumption. That’s why it’s important for producers to realise that impurities in injectable iron products are a serious concern for the agricultural industry.

An independent study, published in the Journal of Swine Health and Production in 2018 analysed 16 injectable iron products from around the world, testing them in particular for heavy metal impurity levels including arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead and mercury. In 15 of these products, the levels of arsenic, chromium and/or lead, exceeded the permitted daily exposure limits for humans.

The study concluded that arsenic, chromium and lead could inadvertently be administered to pigs receiving iron injections. Although the effects of these heavy metals in humans is well known, the effects in young pigs is yet to be determined.

Choose a ‘heavy metal-free’ injectable iron product for your piglets

One product tested ‘clean’ in terms of levels of chromium, lead and arsenic below Permitted Daily Exposure (PDE) limits. That product is Uniferon® (Abbey Animal Health), which contains 200mg/mL of iron.

Uniferon® is manufactured without the use of organic solvent or cyanide, avoiding trace residues of heavy metal impurities. It’s the one brand of injectable iron that met human pharmaceutical standards.

The quality of injectable products depends on the steps taken to avoid and remove impurities that may be introduced during manufacture.  The 2018 tests demonstrate that the way in which Uniferon® is manufactured makes this goal achievable. The tests provide reassurance that producers can administer quality iron without the risk of heavy metal impurities.

Heavy metals don’t belong in iron products

Balancing animal health and welfare while meeting food standards is paramount. Producers and veterinarians need to be aware that heavy metals simply don’t belong in these products and don’t need to be there.

Consumer expectations are also driving retailer and producer behaviours. Consumer trends towards eating animal products that are minimally processed – such as the ‘clean eating’ movement – place more responsibility on the shoulders of injectable iron manufacturers and producers to meet these expectations. Not only should the product consistently deliver the correct amount of iron, it shouldn’t be contaminated with heavy metal impurities. Put simply, to maintain the health and profitability of its animals, the industry needs ‘clean’ injectable iron products.

The potential for iron products to deliver elevated levels of heavy metals to very young piglets is a concern… especially when there is no need to compromise. Pig producers can now make an educated choice by choosing ‘clean’ iron to safely and effectively prevent iron deficiency and anaemia within their litters.

References: 1. Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code – Standard 1.4.1 – Contaminants and Natural Toxicants

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2016C00167 2. Radke SL, Olsen CW, Ensley SM. Elemental impurities in injectable iron products for swine. J Swine Health Prod 2018; 26(3):142-145. 3. Animal Health, Welfare and Food Safety  Implications of Injectable Iron Products for Piglets. International Animal Health Journal 2019; 55 (2): 54-57.

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