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Biosecurity: Keeping the threat of swine disease down and out of the farm

April 15, 2019

Is it time to re-evaluate your on-farm biosecurity protocol?

A recent foreign animal disease (FAD) publication by the National Pork Board reported that African swine fever (ASF) continues to spread through parts of Asia and Europe, increasingly disrupting the world’s pork production. China has garnered much attention due to its position as the top global producer of pork. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) stated that nearly all of China’s provincial-level administrative units have reported at least one ASF break, which means that all but the far west of China — including Hong Kong and Macau — has now been exposed to ASF on some level. The presence of the ASF virus has also been confirmed in Vietnam. Adding to those concerns is the fact that Japan is battling classical swine fever (CSF), another reportable FAD.

The threat of a FAD in the United States has heightened the need for increased protection for the swine industry at U.S. borders. It has also provoked further discussions on biosecurity and the on-farm steps that must be taken to reduce the risk of disease.

On-farm biosecurity

At a recent swine production meeting, I discussed on-farm biosecurity and advised taking a two-pronged approach to prevent both the introduction of new biological agents onto your farm and the uncontrolled movement of pathogens around your farm.

Below are critical control points to include in the evaluation of a biosecurity program:

  • Animal entry
    • When are replacement animals brought in?
    • Are transport trailers being washed and disinfected?
    • Are feral swine a concern?
  • Personnel entry
    • Shower-in/shower-out facilities
    • Obeying the lines of separation between clean and dirty zones
  • Product and equipment entry
    • How are deliveries to the farm handled?
    • Are special precautions taken when outside services (e.g., electricians) are used?
  • Pest control
    • Keep premises clean and picked up
    • Regularly check and refill bait stations
  • Mortality management
    • Ensure that mortalities are regularly picked up
  • Feed biosecurity
    • Stage deliveries to clean sites first
    • Disinfect truck wheels and undercarriages, as well as driver equipment
  • Outside traffic
    • Limit traffic on your farm
    • Plan an offsite delivery area, if possible
  • Aerosol transmission
    • Isolate infected animals
    • Wear personal protective equipment

We are increasingly aware of the concerns surrounding foreign-sourced ingredients. In October 2018, Ridley Feed Ingredients implemented a feed biosecurity plan that requires all vitamins, amino acids, trace minerals and other ingredients imported from ASF-positive countries to be quarantined in a heated warehouse for a minimum of 30 days. Since many of these ingredients are used in other feeds and are distributed throughout Hubbard Feeds plants, the quarantine period sometimes extends beyond the typical 30-day time period.

We continue to work closely with our suppliers to monitor sourcing and biosecurity practices. We understand your concerns, and we intend to implement the most up-to-date biosecurity practices as they become more practical and feasible.

Secure Pork Supply (SPS) plan

A Secure Pork Supply (SPS) plan is being developed through the National Pork Board and the USDA to enhance communication and coordination, accelerate a successful FAD response and support continuity of operations for pork producers. Having an SPS plan in place before the potential outbreak of a FAD in the U.S. is critical for food security, as well as animal health and well-being.

The SPS plan addresses the following FADs:

  • Foot and mouth disease (FMD)
  • Classical swine fever (CSF)
  • African swine fever (ASF)

You can find more information about the SPS plan at www.securepork.org or through the National Pork Board.

The Swine Health Information Center coordinates a global disease-monitoring program and conducts targeted research about reducing the impact of future disease threats. Biosecurity, whether at our borders or on-farm, continues to remain a critical factor in reducing the transport and transmission of disease.

 

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