Pig Focus NOVEMBER 2018 www.irishfarmersmonthly.com big impact Aisling O’Connell, Alltech Pig Coordinator offers some advice for pig farmers regarding biosecurity and the upcoming Zinc Oxide ban Alltech Pig Assist Audit is an on-farm audit that is carried out to identify areas of production which can be improved. With the on-farm audit we can put plans in place to help overcome the challenges the pig industry are up against. These plans may only consist of two or three simple steps which could have a big impact on production and overall health status of the farm. The big challenges facing the industry in the near future is the Zinc Oxide ban, which is due to come in place in 2022; and the reduction of antibiotic usage which is coming mostly from consumer pressure. But, as we know, as Zinc Oxide is being reduced, on-farm antibiotic usage goes up. This is why its important to phase out Zinc slowly and not just take it out tomorrow. Putting a long-term step-by-step plan in place to reduce Zinc should include reducing antibiotic usage and increasing the overall health status of the farm. There’s a lot of research being carried out across Europe looking for an answer for Zinc Oxide. People think over the next year or two a new product will be developed to replace Zinc. Products will be developed to help reduce Zinc Oxide but it can’t be replaced by one product. There is a solution and it consists of many different elements. For genetics I don’t mean one kind of breed will be better than another. The point I want to make is that you need to pick a breed that suits your farm the best. Can your farm deal with higher born alive or would a heavier birthweight but lower born alive suit you better? Sounds simple but it’s important to choose a pig that suits your staff, building and environment. For veterinary you need to work with your vets to put a suitable vaccine programme in place to suit your farm. Biosecurity is one of the elements. There’s a lot of talk about biosecurity over the last few years, but why is it so important? Biosecurity improves and protects your herd health status which is vital when reducing Zinc Oxide and antibiotics. Protocols need to be put in place and followed through. There are a few simple things which you could do today to help improve the biosecurity on your farm. First thing is to ask question: “how many days will you be pig free?” to anyone that wants to visit your farm. Make sure to let the person know what rule you have in place about pig clean. Is it 72 hours or longer? Since I started in this new role with Alltech eight months Small steps 26