Biosecurity for piggeries
Good piggery management includes on-farm biosecurity to prevent the introduction of disease into the property and the herd.
Most diseases are spread from pig to pig; however, diseases can be spread by:
- unclean transport vehicles
- people that are sick or carrying a disease that affects pigs
- contaminated mud or dung carried on boots or piggery equipment.
Key elements of a piggery biosecurity program include:
- isolation from other farms
- fencing and closed gates to control entry for all visitors and to keep animals secure
- control of rodents and secure isolation from feral pigs
- closed-herd approach using artificial insemination or bringing in replacement breeding stock from only 1 source
- a clearly defined off-farm load-out area
- a farm isolation or quarantine facility
- disease transmission and prevention protocols
- a single, controlled entrance for staff and visitors that clearly separates ‘clean’ piggery areas from ‘dirty’ non-piggery areas
- a ‘clean’ farm clothing and boots changing area separated from the ‘dirty’ non-piggery areas
- staff training in disease control.
Talk to your veterinarian for specifics relating to your herd.
A key principle of disease control is to practise a closed-herd approach where improved genes are introduced through artificial insemination (AI). The alternative is to use replacement breeding stock from a single source of an equivalent or higher herd health status.
Isolation sheds on-farm or at another site can be used to provide a basic quarantine facility. They are a simple and effective disease-entry prevention measure. Isolation times and procedures vary depending on what types of diseases are being assessed.
Visitors and visiting
A clearly marked, single point of entry for visitors and staff, combined with an entry log, are effective for controlling and tracking people movement.
Visitors need to be kept away from pigs at least overnight (this may change as Australian pig herd health situation changes). They must be in clean clothes and provided with a change of boots and clothing at the farm. People with influenza symptoms or who are in close contact with others with these symptoms should not have contact with pigs for 7–10 days.
Domestic animals present few risks for spread of disease. However, dogs may present a risk if they travel to different farms.
Wild pigs may bring diseases into a herd. Appropriate fencing prevents wild pigs from having contact with your pigs. For shedded pigs, ringlock or similar to 1m high fencing surrounding the herd is recommended, while double fencing is recommended for free range pigs.
Vehicles are only a risk if they arrive at a piggery and are either already carrying pigs or have not been not been cleaned. For pig load-out, a race leading to a loading ramp at least 20m and preferably 50m from the piggery is recommended.
Training programs can help staff understand biosecurity procedures and identify and prevent threats to pig health.