British pig industry organization BPEX describes initial findings from a controlled trial suggesting that PCV2 circovirus vaccines improve pig lifetime performance and shorten the time to slaughter. 

Full results and analysis of the trial, carried out at the Pig Development Centre's Spen Farm site at Leeds University, are expected by the end of September.

The project investigated the effects of two different PCV2 vaccines (Circovac, which is given to the sow prior to farrowing, and Circoflex, which is given directly to the piglets pre-weaning). The trial comparisons were of piglet or sow vaccination alone or in combination alongside an unvaccinated control.

From the preliminary results, the combined vaccine program reduced time to slaughter by six days. Using vaccination only on sows or on piglets resulted in a reduction of three days. 

The sow vaccine appeared to reduce piglet mortality in the first 24 hours resulting in heavier litters at weaning, while the piglet vaccine improved growth rates after seven weeks of age. 

The work complements the field trial results from a vaccine voucher scheme in commercial herds. Some indications from that were reported in April this year and the final report is due in October.