Cost Benefits of Biosecurity for Pork

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Find the best biosecurity fit for your budget

By Tim Nelson

Industry experts agree, keeping disease out of your farm operation is cheaper than dealing with it once it gets in. An effective biosecurity system, based on reducing exposure to diseases and a proactive response to emerging problems will pay off. The challenge is, how do you put a value on biosecurity practices to determine ROI.

University of Montreal Professor Jean-Pierre Vaillancourt tackled this topic when he published a study in 2012 that is still very relevant today. The original study evaluated biosecurity practices in poultry but the research has now been applied to hog production systems to help determine the benefits and return on investment of biosecurity.

The table below shows a summary of basic biosecurity practices ranked by effectiveness, along with their relative costs of reducing disease transmission in hog barns. The cost associated with each biosecurity practice depends on quality and potential benefit depends on compliance – keeping the practice in place consistently.

The basics of biosecurity haven’t changed much since the publication of Vaillancourt’s study – but in many cases, the risks and cost of disease are substantially higher. The table below demonstrates how proven biosecurity practices will always provide potential cost savings, but aren’t always directly proportional to the cost of implementation. Some of the low-cost activities and practices can have a big benefit. That’s why, when developing your biosecurity system, it’s important to implement practices that best suit your individual farm system.

Professor John Harding, DVM at the University of Saskatchewan expands on the information presented in the table below saying, “90% of good biosecurity relates to location of the barn, controlling visitation, control of the slaughter vehicle and proper operation of the slaughter load out.”

The basics of biosecurity remain the same, but new innovations have been created to help producers to enhance and simplify their on-farm biosecurity practices. Farm Health Guardian is a disease prevention and outbreak management software platform that can support biosecurity and contact tracing in any hog production system – no matter the size.

Legend
Cost Potential Benefit
$$$ = very expensive +++ = High
$$ = expensive ++ = moderate
$ = inexpensive + = minimal
¢ = virtually no cost

Biosecurity practice

Potential benefit

Cost to farm

How Farm Health Guardian can help your farm’s biosecurity

Isolation (distance) from other farms, feed mill, slaughter plant, etc.

+++

$$$

Shower in, shower out facilities

+++

$$$

Fence around premises

++

$$$

Locked gate at entrance of farm

+++

$$

Serologic monitoring

+++

$$

Deadstock disposal on farm

+++

$$

Wash station for vehicles

+++

$$

Introduction of new pigs of known health status only

+++

$

Pest control (rodents, wild birds and insects)

+++

$

Coveralls provided by farm or requirement to wear clean coveralls

+++

$

Clean rubber boots for all people on farm

+++

$

Auditing biosecurity rules (i.e. internal, external or third party)

+++

$

Digital visitor logbook, records, downtime or health pyramid charts and biosecurity reports
Requirements before a vehicle can enter (i.e. only authorized vehicles)

+++

¢

Farm entry control notifications for employees and visitors Biosecurity checklists and health screening tools with instant employee notification
Use of locks for each hog barn

+++

¢

Changing clothing for employees leaving and returning to the farm on the same day

+++

¢

Parking area away from hog barns*

++

¢

Access restricted if visitors have been in contact with hogs

++

¢

Farm entry screening provides downtime charts and automatic entry denial notifications
Plastic boots for visitors

++

¢

Sign advising to stay off farm if no authorization to enter

+

¢

Source: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/the-cost-benefit-of-biosecurity-12324