The British take biosecurity seriously

There was an interesting and useful report in the January 2015 issue of Pig World where an NPA survey on pig farm biosecurity was optimistic that British producers were seriously getting to grips with it at last. Well that’s good, but the figures cited suggest that farmers have still have much to do.

Let me explain. During the past year I’ve been on several good, and some less-good, units here and abroad. On every one I could have parked the car on ground also occupied by and the entrance used by the farm staff’s vehicles, and in two cases with the farms’ feed delivery trucks close by.

Wherever possible I leave my car outside the perimeter these days and walk in, which causes surprise and occasionally laughter (“No one else does it!”), when really it shouldn’t do so. The NPA survey suggests that the penny has well and truly dropped over clothing, boots and showering, but since our serious F&M outbreak years ago, I think that the wheels and undersides of any vehicle visiting the farm is just as big a threat to keeping disease out/disturbing the current level of protective immunity, than the human vector is.

On several farms I showed a layout plan of a disease-denying unit (see Modern Pig Production Technology, page 196), which I’m pleased to see is being adopted/adapted on several new-builds, especially in those countries experiencing PEDv.

Of course, this resulted in comments like “But I can’t possibly do this – and even if I could it would cost a fortune!”

However, on three of the units they agreed to my suggestion of taking the plan with us on a walk round the premises to see whether the existing layout and disease defensive policy could be altered to the plan’s layout. At least, in part, without too much hassle or cost.

One example was making a space for visitors’ vehicles quite separate from those of the farm staff, along with separate human access in and out. This turned out to be feasible – and affordable – on all three farms.

There are several other modifications on the plan applicable to the majority of today’s units that, in my view, deserve study and thought with a view of carrying out modifications, if not now, in the future when other alteration/expansion projects are taking place.

Next time I’ll discuss this plan in more detail and suggest areas and ideas from it that you may care to consider.

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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)