There’s more to an effective biosecurity program than working to keep disease out. Yet most producers focus on such things as isolating new breeding stock, washing tucks and testing boar semen for disease.

“These measures focus on preventing disease entry into the farm from outside sources,” says Locke Karriker, DVM, Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine. “However, opportunity to improve pig health still exists by controlling disease circulation within the farm and production groups.”

He offers some suggestions.

  • Avoid continuous pig flow in farrowing rooms; sincerely commit to an all-in/all-out system.
  • Don’t hold back lightweight finishing pigs, you are exposing pigs to the herd’s least healthy animals. Consider moving light pigs off-site to finish out.
  • Avoid holding back small pigs at weaning. By moving them so that they’re combined with younger pigs you are actually creating a continuous pig flow.
  • Avoid commingling highly variable (age and health status) pig sources.
  • Increase weaning age to reduce the number of pigs that might waste away due to maladjustment.
  • Severely restrict cross-fostering practices to avoid variations in pigs’ immune status in the nursery.
  • Control secondary infections, especially pneumonia.
  • Separate gilt offspring from those of older sows in order to better evaluate and manage immunity levels and determine vaccination programs.
  • Disinfect with the right products for your herd’s health status and needs between pig groups.