Research shows gaps in wean-to-finish biosecurity

By Kyle Thomas, Business Development Representative

Increasing research evidence is revealing gaps in wean to finish biosecurity. The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) Swine Disease Monitoring Report aggregate data shows breeding herd breaks for PRRS and PED tend to follow breaks in wean-to-finish sites.

SHIC’s mission is to protect and enhance the health of the U.S. swine herd. Having recognized that there are significant biosecurity gaps in wean-to-finish swine production, SHIC is leading the industry to proactively control and prevent the next emerging disease. The Wean-to-Harvest Biosecurity Program aims to find cost-effective and innovative solutions to enhance biosecurity during this phase of production.

Dr. Derald Holtkamp and a team of researchers at Iowa State University are reviewing infections of porcine reproductive respiratory syndrome (PRRS), porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) and porcine deltacoronovirus (PDCoV) at growing-pig sites to investigate biosecurity gaps.1 They have followed 75 groups of pigs from nursery to finish, all of which were negative for PRRSV at placement. Of these, only two stayed negative after being placed.


Frequency of movement events corresponds to infection in both the nursery and finishing phases.


The researchers have identified one particular pattern that stands out from the data. It is how closely the frequency of events (such as movements, deliveries, maintenance, etc.) corresponds to infection of PRRSV, PEDV, and PDCoV, in both the nursery and finishing phases.

This link between movement events and outbreaks points to significant biosecurity gaps in livestock transportation. “The timing of the breaks in the finisher phase for PRRSV were frequently associated with the timing of pig movement events from the nursery to finishing phase sites,” says Dr. Holtkamp.

SHIC is now in Phase 2 of examining wean-to-finish biosecurity. Research priorities are focusing on site and transportation biosecurity. As part of transport biosecurity, looking at gaps in traditional areas like truck washing and biosecurity of the driver are a priority. Innovative solutions will also be reviewed, including mobile truck washes and biosecurity innovations at critical first points of infection like unloading docks at markets, packing plants, and other first points of concentration.

Farm Health Protect reduces the risk of disease transmission with real-time digital recording of all truck and trailer movement on and off farm properties. Ensuring compliance with truck wash, downtime or other requirements can help prevent disease movement from barns, feed mills and other concentration points back to your farm. Learn more here.