Biosecurity is often perceived as keeping diseases out of a swineherd. However, excluding disease is nearly impossible because of the natural presence of pathogens in all swine herds, according to Johnna Seaman, University of Missouri animal science graduate student, and Tom Fangman, DVM, at the university.

The goal of a biosecurity program is to keep out pathogens that the herd has not been exposed to, and to minimize the impact of endemic pathogens. With a sound biosecurity program, you can reach optimal animal growth by minimizing negative effects of subclinical illnesses, they say.

You also can achieve high reproductive performance with a drop in costly factors such as embryonic loss or preweaning mortality due to disease.

The herd should be located with a goal of 1.5 miles between operations – the further the better. Consider the prevailing wind direction and the location of other pigs or wildlife because pathogens can spread through the air. Flat land without trees or other protection from the wind provides a greater risk for disease spread.

Swine facilities should be located at least 100 yards away from any other animals on the site. Hog buildings on the same farm should be separated by about 50 yards. In addition, buildings should be located at least 100 yards from any public road, especially if the traffic includes vehicles that haul pigs, to minimize exposure from animals in transit.