New biosecurity measures will be put in place on pig units in three pilot projects just given the go ahead, as part of the national BPEX Pig Health Improvement Project (PHIP).
This marks the eagerly-awaited second stage of the programme for pig producers in Yorkshire and East Anglia, which were the first to get started on regional health improvement – gathering and mapping health information and forming a regional network of producers.
The three on-farm pilot groups – two in Yorkshire and one in East Anglia – will help establish the effectiveness of certain measures in improving pig health status in a sustainable way.
BPEX has helped the producer groups access RDPE funding to support the practical steps they are taking. One group is upgrading its loading ramps to improve biosecurity and, in the second group, one of the farms is doing a full depopulation. The third group, comprising more than 30 units, is carrying out a targeted PRRS vaccination.
Dr Charlotte Evans of BPEX said: “The aim is to show that, where local producers work together, health status improves more rapidly and should make for a lasting solution to persistent challenges.”
All other regions of England are now embarking on the first stage of the project and there are already more than 400 pig units across the country signed up to the PHIP.
All pig farmers in England can now sign up for the PHIP and get free support and services to help improve pig health status. The initial steps are:
· Sign and return PHIP and BPEX Pig Health Scheme (BPHS) form
· Immediate free access to BPHS post-mortem information
· The vet completes the health survey and biosecurity audit at their quarterly visit (funded by PHIP)
· Producers form local working groups and start to develop long-term health plans to improve pig performance and welfare
Producers in Yorkshire and East Anglia who were previously registered with the regional schemes need to ‘re-register’ for the national PHIP which is, in effect, bringing all English regions together to provide the same free support, including BPHS post-mortem checks.