Biosecurity plans are needed for all types of pork producers

Maintaining the health of your animal is important for youth with exhibition swine.

As a pork producer, it is your responsibility to keep your pigs healthy and protect them from disease outbreaks. By caring for the health of your animals using proper production practices, you provide them with proper care and well-being and work to produce a product that is safe, healthy and wholesome for the consumer. Managing the health of your swine herd or project can be a tough job, but by using biosecurity practices for your farm, you can be proactive in caring for your animals.

Biosecurity is a combination of different production practices and methods that can be used on your farm to protect a pig population against the introduction and spread of disease. This means that you will be using different measures to keep your animals as healthy as possible, keeping germs, microbes and different diseases from infecting your pigs and spreading throughout the area. Biosecurity practices differ for each farm and can vary from simple guidelines to complex herd health management plans. All producers, including youth pork producers need to find what methods will work the best for their farm and production type, while remaining efficient and cost effective.

Producing pigs that are as healthy as possible is important for many different reasons. It is your responsibility to care for the health and well-being of your animals. Maintaining a good health status on your farm directly relates to production, leading to increases in average daily gain and improved feed conversion.

As a pork producer, improving the average daily gain of your animals and getting them to grow at an acceptable rate is important. This allows the animal to gain as much weight possible for each pound of feed it eats, which maximizes feed conversion or the pig’s ability to turn feed into growth. Improving these production measures allows you to decrease the cost of raising your animal. This is done by decreasing the cost of feed and lowering the number of days it takes for your animal to reach market weight. Healthy animals also do not need the assistance of a veterinarian or medical attention, again lowering your production costs. Buying and raising healthy pigs helps improve your profitability and the profitability of the swine industry as a whole.

As a pork producer you have a responsibility to the swine industry to help decrease the spread of disease by employing good production practices. Not only can the health of your herd affect your farm, you can spread disease to other pork producers in the area. If you are experiencing a disease outbreak, it is important for you to manage this disease risk and minimize the spread to other farms. This can be done by utilizing biosecurity practices and having a plan in place in case a disease outbreak occurs.

For more information on ways to keep your exhibition pig healthy and decrease the spread of disease, contact your local Michigan State University Extension office or Beth Ferry, MSUE – Pork Educator, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 269-445-4438.

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