The fundamentals of effective Biosecurity on farms
Dr. Gonzalo Mena, Deputy manager of swine health, Agrosuper (Chile)
Biosecurity is the most relevant tool in pig production worldwide and a risk assessment that allows us to define the:
- The main risks of introduction (of one or several diseases) to our farms.
- The possible routes of spreading towards other farms.
The risk of infection of our animals will depend on individual factors, such as whether they are immunized against the specific disease or not, the presence of immunosuppressive diseases and the age of the animal, among others.
This has led us to implement new measures:
- New replacement flow structures.
- Better sanitary filters.
- Increased monitory frequencies.
and to apply new technologies:
- Higher use of molecular diagnostic techniques.
- Digital control of farm accesses (Digital Biosecurity).
- Vehicle georeferencing.
- CCTV camera monitoring.
All these measures and technologies are effective and contribute a lot to strengthen our Biosecurity, but we must have the commitment and conviction of the personnel who works every day on our farms.
Essential aspects of Biosecurity in swine farms
When it comes to considering designing and implementing biosecurity measures in a farm there might certainly be many aspects to consider, but I have the conviction that if these 5 points get addressed, this will be applied correctly in each of the farms.
Farm staff must know the health risks to which the animals they work with are exposed and understand why the risk mitigation measures they deal with are implemented.
It is essential to maintain an understandable and direct language because if the staff does not understand them, they will not correctly apply the necessary measures.
Biosecurity regulations must be achievable, that means that their application should not generate restrictions that could diminish production processes or not be feasible at all.
For example, we tend to establish long down times in an all-in-all-out farm. Such long period of time only increases the production cost but does not give a real health benefit. It would be better to strictly verify the cleaning and disinfection of the barns.
Biosecurity “is not negotiable” and must be taken into consideration 365 days a year. We need to generate a Biosecurity culture that applies across the entire production system.
Setting Biosecurity indicators
Standards must be measurable. We must implement procedures and instructions that can be evaluated, analyzed or at least, where compliance can be verified. “What is not measured does not advance”.
When it comes to Biosecurity, as well as to many other aspects, the digital transformation can be a major contribution to our productive activity.