Biosecurity: Are We Adding Hazards Faster Than Control Measures?


By Jennifer Shike, FarmJournal's Pork

September 20, 2022


When it comes to biosecurity in the swine industry, have we made progress? Montserrat Torremorell, interim department head and professor in the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, said she doubts pork producers would have believed her 20 years ago that air filtration, disinfection of supplies, showers, bench entry system, cleaning/disinfection and drying of trailers, downtime, dedicated personnel and dedicated transport would be common practices to help keep disease off the sow farm.


“I think you can argue by all the biosecurity control measures we have implemented, that we have progress,” said Derald Holtkamp, professor at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine during the Carlos Pijoan SDEC Symposium on Biosecurity and Biocontainment in Finishing Pigs at the Allen D. Leman Swine Conference.  “But the annual incidence of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) hasn’t really gone down.”


So, what’s going on? Do biosecurity measures work? Holtkamp said it’s not all about the control measures.


“Over the last 35 years, we’ve added a lot of biosecurity hazards in how we do things. We are adding hazards faster than we are adding control measures,” Holtkamp said.


Consolidation. Emerging pathogens. Disease elimination methods. Total confinement. Geographic segregation of production. Contracting. Specialization. Economies of scale. Export markets/globalization. These are some of the changes the industry has made that are elevating the importance of biosecurity and at the same time, made it more difficult to manage, he explained.


In grow-finish, in particular, PRRS incidence is getting worse, Holtkamp said. One of the biosecurity hazards he’s been concentrating on lately is livestock transport.


Biosecurity Focus: Transportation ...


Don’t Let Obstacles Prevent Progress ...