Managing high health pigs coming into high dense areas

​​​​​​​In high density locations, producers need to assume last batch had PRRSV, schedule a realistic break between groups for sanitation.


Ann Hess, National Hog Farmer

Jul 29, 2022


When it comes to successful pig production, it is often said the one who "makes the least number of mistakes typically is the winner." However, Clayton Johnson points out starting with healthy pigs is an excellent first step, especially if those pigs are heading to a pig dense region.


"It's health typically, that's the biggest barrier that we run into, and I think if we start with a good healthy weaned pig that's a great first step," says the Carthage Veterinary Service swine practioner.


That means starting with heavy wean weights, minimal variation and no cough.


"I think if you're putting pigs into a pig dense region you want to make sure No. 1 the site isn't contaminated with PRRS (porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome) and they get it from the site," Johnson says. "I know that sounds obvious, but I would tell you that doing some serology of pigs in Iowa early in my career, all of the pigs in central Iowa are going to get PRRS all of them. I don't mean some of them, I mean all of them."


In high density locations, Johnson says producers need to assume the last batch had PRRSV and to schedule a realistic break between groups for sanitation.


"We're always tight on space in the summer, maybe not as bad right now as industry dynamics are a little bit unique but generally, we get really tight on space, and we refill the barns as fast as possible," Johnson says. "I'm not saying that you need three weeks of downtime but asking somebody to turn over a wean-to-finish site in three or four days is not realistic."


Pig space cleaning needs to include the hallways and loadouts and should first be dry cleaned, then sanitized with detergent or degreaser, pressure washed with hot water, inspected and disinfected. The office and supply storage area should also be cleaned...