7 steps to keeping farms PRRS-free this autumn
A methodical approach to disease prevention and control is vital to reducing the risk of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) flare-ups this autumn, according to a pig health expert.
Andrew Palmer, knowledge exchange manager at AHDB Pork in the UK, said that many different factors can affect disease development, severity and circulation, reports Farmers Weekly.
But taking a holistic approach to tackling the disease — including vaccination, biosecurity and management practices — can all help farmers get on top of PRRS before it takes hold.
“Although present year-round, PRRS tends to flare up during autumn and winter,” Palmer said.
“This is most likely down to environmental conditions — cool and damp — not only favoring its survival, but making effective cleaning and disinfecting more difficult.”
In addition, temperature fluctuations and difficulties in getting ventilation systems working can also predispose pigs to outbreaks of disease.
To tackle the issue, Palmer suggests seven tips to keep PRRS out of a herd and to minimize its spread:
- If it’s an option, closing the herd is the most effective method of keeping out PRRS.
- Carry out a biosecurity audit with your vet and identify high-risk areas. It is also a good opportunity to get on top of cleaning and disinfecting practices.
- Evaluate areas where disease could be transmitted. Look at pig movements and flow, management practices, location and farm visitors.
- Only use replacements that have been bred on-farm. If it is necessary to bring gilts in, only introduce them to the herd after a quarantine period (between two and eight weeks). Farmers should also allow time for appropriate vaccinations to be given and a period to allow shedding.
- If your system will allow it, operate a strict all-in-all-out policy.
- Avoid cross-fostering after 48 hours and only then when necessary to reduce disease transmission to piglets and prevent contact between different age groups.
- If in a pig-dense region, consider a regional eradication program