Latin America has a unique opportunity to become one of the world’s largest providers of animal protein. An abundance of natural resources, which are needed for animal protein production, in conjunction with a rigorous implementation of the highest quality standards in the production of pork, chicken, eggs, beef, milk and its biproducts, has increased our nations’ ability to contribute towards the food security of their own population and the world at large.
According to the United Nations, worldwide animal protein consumption will continue to grow to up to 37 kilograms per capita in 2030. This estimation presents our industry with a significant opportunity, and invites us to face, together, new challenges. One of the most important of these challenges is contributing in the production of more protein, of better quality at a lower cost to nourish the wellbeing of the more than 8 billion people that will populate the earth by 2030
These numbers, more than representing the potential growth in our sector, present new and significant challenges that we can and must face, together. One of the most significant is contributing in the production of more protein, at lower cost and of better quality. This quality must be present at every stage of the chain of production, thus ensuring better animal performance and guaranteeing the safety of the transformation processes, ultimately optimizing your profitability.
In addition to this challenge, we must consider the evolution of the modern consumer: highly informed and educated, connected, and demanding in all thing’s health, environment and quality. These new consumers base all their purchasing decisions on those factors. Healthy nutrition is one of the trends that determine the direction of the animal protein production industry worldwide. Furthermore, it invites us to question the industry standards and practices involved in the productive processes.
As such, one of the main questions that we must ask ourselves is: are we really working towards bio secure-farms? Are we aware of the impact of bio-security in reducing sanitary problems, increasing healthy birds, achieving a more efficient use and care of natural resources while decreasing our production costs? This article will allow us to find out more about the true relevance of bio-secure farms.
We can begin by analyzing the concept of bio-security. The term BIO-SECURITY (BIO=LIFE, SECURITY=PROTECTION) encompasses all those preventive measures that, applied permanently and integrally, decrease the risk of infectious processes. This helps to prevent the entry or withdrawal of agents that may lead to diseases that could compromise not only the health of the animal but of the person in charge of its care and the final consumer, leading to economic losses and quality issues with the final product.
Hygiene, order, discipline, environmental management, plague control and other preventive measures such as vaccination are some of the hog-farming best-practices that comprise bio-security. These measures counteract the infectious and sanitary effects that can arise from stress, decreased immune response, extreme temperature changes or limitations in water or food supply.
Bio-security is the first line of defense of the animal´s health. By implementing the right measures, we can keep the birds in a controlled, sanitary environment that helps achieve healthy growth. As such, given its importance in the optimization of production and its implications in the quality of animal protein, we want to share with you the 10 commandments of biosecurity, which we consider are fundamental in achieving safe, productive swine farms:
1. Let’s increase our chances of success with a strategic location
Swine farms must be located in rural areas. The farther they are from urban areas, the less probability there will be of being subject to visitation by people foreign to the operation.
It would be ideal that access roads to the farms are of exclusive use of the personnel that works in them, thus reducing automobile traffic and access of people not related to their operation. Any type of animal farms or sites can generate potential sanitary risks for the farm and the wellbeing of the animals that live within them
We must consider the environmental footprint of the farm and comply with the established standards in accordance with the legislation of each country. Also, we must always consider the impact of our farms in the health and wellbeing of the communities around them
Farms should be located at least 5 km. from each other and at least 1 km away from the slaughterhouses and fridges. It is important to keep the farm separated with perimeter fencing that is visible, with clear and conspicuous signs of restricted access.
2. Let’s keep diseases away with a “Do not enter” sign
It is important to control access to the farm, restricting access to the sheds to people and objects that are not directly related to the operation and that could pose a risk to the sanitary conditions of the hogs.
It is well known that one of the main sources of infectious agents in hogs are human beings. As such, only people directly linked with production, and after carefully complying with the bio-security measures established in the farm, should access the interior of the sheds. To control the access of undesired agents to the farm, we recommend that the clean room is accessible through one unique door linking it to the rest of the areas
All the staff that works within the farm should change their clothes and avoid bringing any personal garments into the sheds. They must also take baths with water and soap, and in some instances, use antiseptic substances. We recommend using only clothes approved and supplied by the farm. In some cases, it is necessary to use clothes of various colors depending on the jobs assigned in each area, so that access is restricted to the designated areas only
We also recommend controlling vehicle access to the farm. These vehicles must be sanitized by going through a disinfecting arch, and the passengers must comply with the bio-security instructions established by the farm. Trucks (both cabin and bodywork) must be cleaned and disinfected carefully and must be completely dried.
3. Production Flow: all in, all out.
To control the frequent sanitary challenges, we must allow a rest period (sanitary void) between each cycle. In it we must empty the sheds completely for at least 7 days.
Your lots must have a single age, always adhering to the “all in, all out” system, in which hogs come in and are taken out at the same time once production is finalized. With this, you can reduce transmission of infectious agents from the older hogs to the younger ones.
Within the farm there must not be any other type of animals. Additionally, the farm must have anti-bird meshes that prevents wild birds from entering the sheds.
4. Clean equipment and areas are vital to the health of hogs
When initiating cleaning of sheds, lets eliminate as much organic material as possible. Organic material can host a significant number of microorganisms and interfere with the disinfection process. As such, they can become shields for dangerous microorganisms. High levels of organic material reduce the efficacy of the disinfection process.
These are the main steps to keep in mind:
- Remove animals.
- Remove all portable equipment
- Sweep well and remove fecal mater and food waste. Drain all waste channels.
Dry cleaning reduces organic material, which, followed with wet cleaning, using hot water with pressurized jets, helps drag fine particles and material that is stuck to surfaces. Disinfection must be done with the right products and using the correct dosages. A good disinfection and cleaning will deactivate most microorganisms.
5. Let´s implement permanent pest control
Insects and rodents can transmit infectious agents that can negatively affect production. We must realize that the best time to conduct pest control activities is during the rest periods or sanitary voids in the farm. Amongst the most dangerous insects we can find the common fly.
Also, there is a great variety of rodents (rats, mice or others) that with their 2 km range represent a high risk of contamination to the farm. These animals can bring in or take out a significant number of pathogens from other farms and carry them through their legs, fur or fetal matter
Another way to prevent pest proliferation is avoiding the accumulation of debris and growth of weeds around the farm´s perimeter.
6. Let’s fight against stress
A hog´s immune system can be greatly affected by stressful situations, which can lead to the development of certain microorganisms.
Some external factors that can generate stress on hogs are: High density of animals in confined areas; aggression between animals that may lead to wounds and ultimately cause the transmission of infectious diseases; abrupt temperature changes; water or food intake restriction, a diet with a salt deficiency.
7. Let’s have an animal sanitary program
In general, vaccination increases a hog’s resistance to disease, but it does not eliminate the possibility of an infection in the hog lot. Both the piglet facilities and the fattening farms must be under the supervision of a trained veterinarian. We must strictly follow the vaccination schedule, ensure that the biological agents used meet the required specifications to successfully comply with the program and are properly registered in the farms document logs
8. Let’s move the portable equipment
Do not move machines or equipment from one farm to another. The equipment, even portable equipment, must be specific and limited to one site. Proper hygiene and disinfection of all materials must always be observed. Visible dirt must be dry cleaned first, then hot water with pressurized jets should be used to clean the surfaces in contact with sunlight, using the selected disinfecting products.
9. Water cleanup and sanitation
All water systems are exposed to bacterial and viral contamination. Tanks, tubes and troughs are all exposed to this danger. Sanitation is critical in these areas.
These are the main steps to keep in mind:
- Descaling of tubes and pipes and cleanup of tanks and troughs
- Disinfect, with chosen products, and allow liquids to reach tubing and troughs. Leave product on the surface for at least 30 minutes.
10. Treatment of effluents and carcasses
The farm must have appropriate systems for the collection and treatment of effluents and the elimination of dead animals. Liquid residue sewers must not be open and must drain into ditches or lagoons outside the perimeter of the farm.
Eliminating carcasses can be done by burial or composting, adjusted always to local regulatory requirements. The necropsy area must always be outside the perimeter fence and must be easy to clean and disinfect.
Bio-security, when properly implemented at any level, is a magnificent investment when compared to the losses generated by disease and mortality. Results are seen in decreased mortality rates hogs and cost savings in production processes, which benefits our partners and increases the quality of the animal protein for human consumption
The greatest risk in a farm is lacking an appropriate bio-security plan. This is why this concept is fundamental to the swine industry to reduce diseases. These 10 commandments will allow us to better understand the productive impact that an appropriate bio-security plan can have in our farms; a plan in which our PREMEX TEAM can help you with during all phases of implementation.
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