db.Besamung: Health management
We implement the highest safety standards to protect your farm from infectious diseases and ensure its profitability.
Targeted approaches which satisfy our strict quality standards are required in all areas of production, including up- and downstream stages, so that we can produce and supply semen safely and reliably.
Controlled farms of origin
Over 90% of boars at BHZP centres are bred on our own primary breeding farms or on BHZP contract farms. These farms are frequently inspected to check for relevant diseases and pathogens, especially PRRS. We pay very careful attention to biosecurity to prevent bacterial contamination. The Lower Saxony Chamber of Agriculture’s Pig Health Service assists us in maintaining the health status of the farms. Having been carefully selected by the breeding department, boars from these farms are transported to BHZP quarantine stations in special VzF breeding stock vehicles. Deliveries to international BHZP partners comply with BHZP health and welfare requirements. Boars can be introduced into the system only from our partners’ designated farms of origin.
Safe quarantine stations
All boars spend at least 30 days in one of our three quarantine stations, where they are thoroughly vetted. Each boar is tested for ESP, Aujeszky disease (AD) and brucellosis, and twice for PRRS. Only animals testing negative are permitted to leave the quarantine station and continue their journey to the AI centre. Only animals from PRRS-free breeding farms are admitted (no satellite stock from farms of origin that have tested positive). In the AI centre the animals are prepared for their role as AI boars. They are trained with a ‘dummy sow’ to test their behaviour and stability. The preparation also covers various health aspects. During quarantine all boars are vaccinated against parvovirus, swine erysipelas, influenza and PCV II. They are transported from the quarantine station to the AI centre in VzF vehicles again to avoid contact with other herds and sources of infection.
Reliable AI centres
On arrival at the AI centre, the boars are immediately assimilated into the health management programme. This ensures that each boar is tested annually for ESP, AD and brucellosis and that at least ten animals per station are tested at least once a month for PRRS. They are also vaccinated against parvovirus, swine erysipelas, influenza and PCV II twice a year. This not only maintains the health of the herd, it prevents the risk of infectious agents being transmitted via the semen to customer farms and their sows. It goes without saying that we collect semen only from healthy boars. These tests and vaccinations cover diseases which can be transmitted via the semen. Many other infections associated with high costs in pig production (APP, M. hyo. etc.) are not transmitted directly via the ejaculate. Sources of infection which could potentially contaminate the semen are scrupulously avoided. Routine testing of the ejaculate, including all semen preparation measures, and staff hygiene training, for example, ensure that sperm quality is of the highest standard. Procedures in the AI centres are strictly regulated. Staff working in the stalls, in the laboratory and as couriers have clearly defined work areas.
In the interests of biosecurity, AI centres, quarantine stations and boar breeding farms are systematically divided into black and white zones (to separate clean and unclean operations) and operate strict access restrictions to prevent the entrance of infection. Access is granted only to our own, specially trained staff, farm managers and their staff and selected vets who provide veterinary care through our Veterinary Association. Visitors are not allowed on the AI centres and farms. Boar demonstrations have to adhere to very strict safety requirements. Some centres provide special demonstration rooms for this purpose. These allow customers to see a professional boar presentation in a relaxed atmosphere where hygiene risks are eliminated.
All AI stations are independently certified PRRS-free by the Pig Health Services (SGD) of the Lower Saxony and Saxony Anhalt Chambers of Agriculture. We have to be extremely vigilant to maintain this status, since PRRS infections are a common occurrence on pig farms. The status of a farm is always a retrograde assessment and our task is to maintain and uphold it in the future. We are constantly looking at ways to improve our on-farm biosecurity and operating procedures.
db.Besamung operates a rigorous health management strategy which continuously evolves in line with our processes. Key elements of the strategy include employing our own staff to supervise BHZP farms, on-farm biosecurity, reliable transport, frequent testing, targeted immunisation programme and seeking independent advice from specialist institutions.
All boars have been routinely vaccinated with the latest influenza strains since April 2010 to prevent transmission via the sperm. All boars have been routinely vaccinated against PCV II since November 2010 to prevent transmission via the sperm.