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Qualitative Study to Identify Potential Biosecurity Risks Associated with Pig Feed Delivery

05 November 2014

Everyone in the feed company and on the farm has a role to play in reducing the potential risk of transmitting diseases, according to research from the University of Guelph, and it should be everyone's concern.

An experiment to identify management and operational functions, recommended by feed company personnel and swine producers, that have the potential to decrease the risk of pathogens being transmitted among swine farms through movement of feed trucks is described by Dr C. Dewey and colleagues at the University of Guelph in Canada in Journal of Swine Health and Production.

Focus groups and key-informant interviews were conducted with 21 feed company representatives (including managers, dispatchers and truck drivers) and also with 15 pig producers.

Questions explored biosecurity measures that would reduce risk of pathogen transmission at the farm, feed-company, and feed-truck levels. Participants were asked to rate these biosecurity management changes by economic and logistic feasibility and likelihood of reducing pathogen transmission.

The results provide an understanding of the roles of the farm, feed truck and feed company in biosecurity management surrounding delivery of feed to swine farms and the need for education about how pathogens move among farms.

Examples include pest control and truck washing, dispatching trucks according to farm disease status, drivers not entering the barn, reducing exposure of trucks to deadstock and manure, and educating all industry personnel.

Based on their results, Dewey and colleagues recommend that all swine industry personnel must think about their roles in pathogen transmission associated with feed delivery and consider implementing changes and developing an industry standard that could reduce this risk.

Veterinarians may take the responsibility of educating others in the industry about risks identified in the scientific literature that are associated with pathogen transmission.

Biosecurity is everyone’s concern: everyone has a role to play in reducing the potential risk, the Guelph researchers concluded.


Dewey C., K. Bottoms, N. Carter and K. Richardson. 2014. A qualitative study to identify potential biosecurity risks associated with feed delivery. J Swine Health Prod. 22(5):232–243.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

November 2014

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