Bio-Security = Happy Hogs

Goals of Bio-Security

Bio-security is described as procedures intended to protect humans or animals against disease or harmful biological agents.  Bio-security should be on the forefront of all pork producer’s minds, as well as having an appropriate plan for their operations.  Planning and setting bio-security goals can make the difference between surviving or not for our hogs and us as producers.  By protecting our hogs with precautionary procedures we can ensure healthy hogs and economically profitable production.  When developing a plan you will need to realize every way that diseases can move, they can travel by trucks, boots, clothing, manure, and even by mice and birds.  Each production site should have strategies implemented inside the building as well as inside the building.

Photo Credit:  RVC, http://www.rvc.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/intensive-livestock-health-and-production

Practices for Inside Your Buildings

The following practices are to be perform on site at hog facilities.  First and foremost is showering before entering hog rooms and wearing appropriate attire that is only used within the buildings.  For smaller operations using boots and clothes for only your hog buildings would be the most appropriate strategy on that standpoint.  Appropriately power washing and disinfecting rooms when hogs are not in them is essential for killing any diseases within the building.  When working inside your operations it is important to observe any signs or symptoms your hogs might have, they can tell you the most about what is going on at your particular facility.  Good ventilation and air flow is key for healthy respiratory and digestion systems within hog buildings.  My grandfather, who has raised hogs for over 50 years in and out of confinements, always told me, “if we can’t breathe, then they can’t either”.

Practices for Outside Your Buildings

For your efforts to pay off you need to make sure people entering your driveways are aware of your practices by posting signs informing them.  This will limit traffic down your lane as well as making sure other hog farmers don’t come in to your bio secure area.  Typically commercial operations require at least 48 hours away from pigs to enter a different facility.  Washing trucks and trailers after use is absolutely necessary to clean and disinfect them of any disease or other bio agents.  Controlling rodents both inside and outside of buildings will help to decrease movement of disease from one group of hogs to another.

Photo Credit:  Illinois Department of Agriculture

These are basic steps and strategies to help producers on their farms.  Bio-security is beneficial for a producer and his/her neighbors.  In my opinion health is the most important thing in pork production, hogs must be healthy to grow and be efficient, and bio-security practices that I stated are step in the right direction for healthier hogs and people.  To learn more in depth about bio-security strategies visit http://www.pork.org on Pork Checkoff.

I am Isaac Whitaker and I am currently attending Western Illinois University, I am a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Business with a Minor in Agronomy. I am from Griggsville, Illinois, which is also known as the purple martin capital of the world. My agriculture experience comes from my family’s row crop and hog farm, as well as from a local agriculture retailer, Logan Agri-Service inc., where I have been an intern.

Sources: Pork Checkoff, http://www.pork.org

Penn State Extension

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