Building Back the Hog Farms Better – UBTAC

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Building Back the Hog Farms Better:Resilience in the Face of ASF

African Swine Fever (ASF) has devastated hog farms and the global pig industry, causing significant economic losses and animal welfare concerns. While a complete solution remains elusive, implementing best practices and innovative products can significantly improve farm biosecurity and pig well-being, ultimately building resilience against ASF and other infectious diseases.

Biosecurity: The First Line of Defense

  1. Strict Zoning and Access Control: Implement distinct zones for high, medium, and low biosecurity, with limited access to each. Enforce personnel and vehicle disinfection protocols, including footbaths and tire dips.
  2. Perimeter Fencing and Monitoring: Secure the farm perimeter with double fencing and utilize surveillance cameras to detect unauthorized access.
  3. All-in, All-out System: Practice this method to minimize the risk of disease introduction and spread between groups of pigs. Thoroughly clean and disinfect housing between batches. This applies to growing fatteners.
  4. Feed and Water Biosecurity: Source feed from reliable suppliers and implement feed biosecurity measures like heat treatment or the use of feeds with anti-asf technology. Ensure clean, treated water sources and proper sanitation of water lines.
  5. Rodent and Pest Control: Implement a comprehensive rodent and pest control program to prevent them from acting as disease vectors.

Animal Welfare: A Key to Resilience

  1. Enriched Environments: Provide pigs with enrichment materials like straw, balls, and manipulable objects to promote natural behaviors and reduce stress.
  2. Space Allocation: Ensure pigs have adequate space to move freely and express natural behaviors. Adhere to recommended stocking densities.
  3. Ventilation and Temperature Control: Maintain optimal temperature and humidity levels with proper ventilation systems. This reduces the risk of respiratory diseases and improves pig comfort. (This is applicable to tunnel vent systems or closed/indoor piggeries.)
  4. Disease Prevention: Implement a robust vaccination program based on local disease prevalence and consult with veterinarians for optimal protocols. While ASF does not have vaccines yet it is best to vaccinate pigs with other known diseases common in the area.
  5. Mental Well-being: Consider implementing positive reinforcement training techniques to reduce stress and improve pig welfare.

Innovative Products for Enhanced Biosecurity

  1. Biosecurity Gates: Automated gates with disinfection protocols can minimize human error and ensure thorough decontamination. (Applicable in commercial piggeries.)
  2. Air Filtration Systems: High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can remove airborne pathogens, reducing the risk of disease transmission. (This is applicable to tunnel vent systems or closed/indoor piggeries.)
  3. Sensor-based Monitoring: Utilize sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, and pig behavior, allowing for early detection of potential issues. (This is applicable to tunnel vent systems or closed/indoor piggeries.)
  4. Automated Feeders and Waterers: These systems can minimize human-animal contact and potential disease transmission.
  5. Digital Disease Tracking: Utilize software to track pig health, movement patterns, and potential disease outbreaks, enabling rapid response. (Applicable in commercial piggeries.)

Building Resilience Beyond Technology

Remember, technology alone cannot guarantee complete protection against ASF. Building resilience also requires:

  • Strong Biosecurity Culture: Train personnel on proper biosecurity procedures and instill a culture of vigilance and responsibility.
  • Collaboration with Veterinarians: Regularly consult with veterinarians for disease prevention, outbreak response plans, and best practices.
  • Community Engagement: Collaborate with neighboring farms and authorities to share information and implement coordinated biosecurity measures.

By adopting these best practices and utilizing innovative products, hog farmers can build more resilient farms, protect their animals from ASF and other diseases, and ensure a sustainable future for their operations. Remember, continuous improvement and adaptation are key in the fight against ever-evolving threats like ASF.

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Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. Always consult with a qualified veterinarian for specific recommendations regarding your farm and its biosecurity protocols.


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