The pig industry is growing very fast in Argentina with an increasing need for replacement animals, feedstuff and transportation of animals. One of the main competitive advantages of the Argentinian pig industry is its being free of most major pig diseases. Within this context, applying measures aimed to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of pathogens is critical. The aim of the present study was to assess the biosecurity of Argentinian pig farms. Two types of farms were assessed: firstly, all official suppliers of high-genetic-value (n = 110) and secondly, a sample from commercial farms (n = 192). Data on the external and internal biosecurity practices applied on the farms was collected with a questionnaire. Data was analysed using a correspondence analysis and a hierarchical clustering analysis, which allowed identification of types of farms with regard to the biosecurity measures applied. Key variables characterizing the clusters were identified through an indicator value analysis. In addition, the external biosecurity of the farms was evaluated by using risk assessment tools with respect to the potential introduction of porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus. Results made evident three clusters: the first one which, amongst other measures, applied several barriers to prevent the entry of people, trucks and other vehicles, and could be considered as a group of high biosecurity, and the two other groups which applied a lower number of external and internal biosecurity measures. The results of the risk assessment showed that the routes with the highest risk of disease introduction were: replacement animals, vehicles transporting feed or animals, and visitors. The assessment of the external biosecurity showed that most Argentinian farms were not prepared for the contingency of a pathogen such as porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus. Special efforts should be made in official suppliers of high-genetic-value farms with poor biosecurity scores since they are at the top of the pig production chain and can be key for the spread of diseases.
Keywords: Pigs, Biosecurity, Correspondence analysis, Cluster analysis, Risk assessment, Porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus.
Abstract published in Preventive Veterinary Medicine, Volume 170, 1 October 2019, 104637. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2019.02.012.