Swine Biosecurity

Wednesday, 16 February 2022
In 2017, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP), made the decision that zinc oxide’s benefits for preventing post-weaning diarrhoea, do not outweigh the risks to the environment and therefore it was decided that the use of zinc oxide as a veterinary medicinal product would be banned. There are also upcoming changes in regulations around the use of antimicrobials on farm. Therefore, we must look at ways in which we can manage our pigs health by adopting new strategies to prevent post-weaning diarrhoea and improve productivity, which will in turn, improve profitability.
Biosecurity is of utmost importance in order to prevent the entry and spread of disease on farm. We encourage producers to think about what biosecurity protocols are in place on their farm and what can be changed in order to improve the level of biosecurity on their unit.

Steps to achieve optimum water quality

1. Ensure that you have a quality water supply –
• Get your source water supply tested to determine its suitability for your farm needs. Check for iron, manganese,
hardness (calcium and magnesium levels). There are different treatment systems available depending on your
water quality.
• Test the water in the drinking lines for biofilm, cfu/ml, etc. Slow moving water, in high temperatures, creates the
perfect environment for microbes to grow and multiply throughout the unit. This reduced the quality and potability
of the water

2. Layout of your drinking water system – Types vary;
• Holding tank, gravity feed, low pressure distribution throughout
the unit.
• Holding tank + pump, high pressure distribution, pressure valve
control .
• Direct supply from the source, no holding tank.
• Common problems here are caused by contamination where
header tanks are used, warm water and sagging in the pipelines,
absence of flushing valves, old or corroded pipes, dead ends, stagnant

3. Adjusting and monitoring the availability of water
• Too low nipple flow rate – less water & feed intake.
• Too high nipple flow rate – hygiene issues, wet floors, lameness,
decreased FC ratio due to spillage.
Constant metering of water consumption & quality is very useful in
monitoring the pig’s drinking habits & health. Increased water consumption
equals increased feed intake and efficiency and can also
detect if there are leakages in your unit.

4. Correct usage of drinking water adjustments -
• Use reliable dosing equipment – equipment must be reliable at
low water flow rate.
• Install a water meter
• Only use acid resistant materials.
• Monitoring of drinking and dosed product is essential.
• Use pressure valves to correct flow rate in different areas of the

5. Have a structured approach in cleaning drinking water systems -
• Get your source water tested.
• Have your farm surveyed for pump & pipe installation, etc.
• Flush lines regularly via flushing valves, clean filters.
• Use only registered/DAFM approved products.
• There are additional accessories available for monitoring water
consumption, pH, temperatures, etc.
• This system has to be managed; we can help you with this.

T: +353 (0)1 451 8959     F: +353 (0)1 4512540

Interchem (Ireland) Ltd. Unit 29, Cookstown Industrial Estate, Dublin 24, D24 V9FP.

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