Checking the boxes on ventilation and biosecurity is important for pork producers as cold weather approaches, says Steve Rommereim, owner and manager of Highland Swine, a finishing farm, Alcester, South Dakota, and National Pork Board treasurer.
“My No. 1 priority this time of the year is to thoroughly check building ventilation systems because pigs thrive in fresh, clean air,” Rommereim said. “Fans need to be clean and operating well. I check air inlets for obstructions and ease of operation.”
As temperatures drop, Rommereim also turns up the dial on the farm’s biosecurity.
“Biosecurity protocols not only need to be in place, but need to be top of mind for folks on the farm,” Rommereim said. “Risk from diseases, such as porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), increases in cold weather, so this is a good investment of my time.”
Basics include controlling traffic in and around hogs, having clean, site-specific boots and clothes available and limiting entry points for truckers hauling hogs.
“We make sure everything is washed and disinfected, not just within the rooms, but also anything coming into barns,” Rommereim said. “Producers who farrow need to be even more stringent to keep PEDV and other diseases from entering their herds.”
Other tasks on his checklist include checking that all furnaces are in good working order, tightening up buildings and refreshing rodent-control programs.
“Don’t forget about the flu vaccine,” Rommereim added, “I require anyone working around the pigs to get one each fall.”
The Pork Checkoff offers more items to include in your fall-preparation checklist, including manure pumping and application safety tips, transportation guidance and biosecurity at pork.org under “resources.”