The PDMA have kick-started the year in high gear, which bodes well for the rest of 2014. We have had our first group of State Vets for training in 2014. These are 7 of the 20 that we will be working with this year. As with the previous year’s groups, these vets went through the refresher of the clinical year programme at Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty. The refresher is mainly a practical programme that includes farms visits and lots of post-mortem hours. This year we have also added a significantly section on State controlled diseases and quarantines. This was informed by the difficulties encountered with the outbreaks of Newcastle Disease in 2013 and the handling thereof.

We take this opportunity to thank Dr Buks Wandrag and his team at OP and an even bigger thanks to Dr Deryn Petty from the Epidemiology and Biosecurity Unit of the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development GDARD). We will be running 2 more sessions for 2014 and these will be followed by 2 symposia that will be attended by both trained State Vets and Private vets. The training programme is recognised and accredited by the South African Veterinary Council and has been awarded 25 Continued Professional Development (CPD) points.

Disease Surveillance
We would like to thank the producers who continue to take part in the Avian Influenza (AI) surveillance programme which allows us as the Poultry Industry to prove our freedom from H5 and H7. We would like to encourage you to continue supporting the programme.

This year we wish to look at the surveillance of Mycoplasma synoviae (MS) and Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG). We are looking at layers and breeders for this phase. The vets will be asked to assist with the collection of swabs from the layer and breeder farms so that an evaluation of the current circulating strains can be made in order to come up with better control and management tools. We request your participation in this regard.

In addition to Mycoplasma, we will be doing surveillance on H6 on the same layer and breeder farms. At the same time as when they are collecting the swabs for Mycoplasma, the vets will be collecting bloods for H6 testing. The H6 surveillance is aimed at establishing the spread of the disease in order to establish programmes to attempt eradication. This will be highly dependent on how widespread the disease is. With the same data, we will be able to establish the economic impact of the disease.

Government Engagement
This year we continue with our government engagement on various Sanitary issues and looking at ways to improve the quality of the product provided to the consumers, while looking at export potential. We will keep you informed of the activities around these issues and how the industry can assist and participate in these initiatives. The success of the initiatives will go a long way in ensuring the continued survival and improvement of the industry as a whole.

We welcome you to 2014 and we hope you will be active participants and support the initiatives of the PDMA that will ensure continued improvements!