Although you have only a few boars on your farm, their impact is big. That’s certainly true for genetics, but it’s  true for herd health as well.

That’s because few producers give boars the proper  biosecurity time and attention.

“You could argue that the move to AI will eliminate this problem, but it will exist as long as we use boars to detect heat,” says Carlos Pijoan, University of Minnesota swine veterinarian. “Even if vasectomized boars come from your own herd, they may come from a site with a different health status.”

To headoff such risks, Pijoan recommends the following:

- Understand the health status
of the seedstock source. Have your veterinarian and your seedstock supplier’s veterinarian discuss health status and protocols. 

- If both the boar source and your herd has a negative status for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, isolate boars for 30 days. That includes boars originating from your own herd.

- Test the general health of the new boars. Blood test 14 days into the isolation period. Begin vaccination programs as needed.

- If your herd is PRRS-positive, but the incoming boars are PRRS-negative, extend the isolation period to 60 days or more. Then follow the isolation principles outlined.

- No matter the boar’s PRRS status, schedule an acclimatization phase to begin after isolation.

- Expose boars to micro flora through fecal feedback. Also provide nose-to-nose contact to early parity sows and/or nursery pigs.

Items in this column are drawn from Swine Practitioner, a sister publication of PORK’98.