A suggested pig unit layout for top-class biosecurity

Last time, I promised I would show my suggested layout plan for a pig unit of any size that goes a long way to defend the unit from inward disease, writes John Gadd.

The original version was proposed by PIC several years ago, and I’ve amended/added to it from my own experiences of good ideas accumulated from my travels, and what leading pig-specialist veterinarians have since told me.

I suggest you should quietly study it and compare your own premises and layout to it. Some of the ideas you’ll not be able to accomplish due to feasibility and cost. Others, as several producers have already instigated, have been possible and – after taking a deep breath or two – are affordable.

Those considering a new unit should design-in all the suggestions, every one, and those expanding premises would be well advised for the future to follow as many as they can.

Notice – as I emphasised last time – the importance of wheels and undersides of any vehicles as a threat, and how staff vehicles must never drive over, or park on, the ground of any other vehicles servicing or visiting the unit.

In this respect, entrance dips on 90% of the units I visit are inadequate and 50% quite useless. This merits a future couple of blogs describing what the very best units do – usually the largest and newest farms. We need to follow them.

Of course, once showered-in, staff must keep rigorously within the inner pig-safe perimeter fence, a rule often broken on smaller units, I notice, usually due to pressure of work and emergencies.

Next time I`ll return to the worthwhile NPA biosecurity survey, adding a few questions of my own that might have been asked – and explain why!

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About The Author

John Gadd, who has spent 60 years' involvement in pig production, has had more than 2,800 articles about pigs published and has written three best-selling pig textbooks. With hands-on experience that includes managing a grow-out herd at 1,800ft in Banffshire, Scotland, and 20 years in the allied industries with Boots' Farm Department, RHM Agriculture and Taymix, he set up his own international pig management consultancy in the mid 1980s and has now visited more than 3,000 pig units in 33 countries as a pig management adviser. (Photo courtesy Bournemouth Daily Echo)