Relationship between biosecurity and production/antimicrobial treatment characteristics in pig herds

Vet J. 2013 Nov;198(2):508-12. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.08.029. Epub 2013 Sep 2.


The biosecurity status of 95 breeder-finisher pig herds was quantified using a risk-based weighted scoring system. Data relating to herd-, farmer- and production-characteristics and to the prophylactic use of antimicrobials were also collected. The average external biosecurity score (measures to prevent pathogens from entering a herd) was 65 (range, 45-89) and the average internal score (measures to reduce the within-herd spread of pathogens) was 52 (range, 18-87). External scores were positively associated with herd size, while internal scores were negatively associated with both 'age of buildings' and 'years of experience of the farmer', indicating that biosecurity is generally better implemented in larger herds, in more modern facilities and by younger farmers. External and internal biosecurity scores were positively associated with daily weight gain and negatively associated with feed conversion ratio of fattening pigs. Internal scores were negatively associated with disease treatment incidence, suggesting that improved biosecurity might help in reducing the amount of antimicrobials used prophylactically. This study demonstrates and quantifies a clear link between biosecurity and both production- and antimicrobial treatment-related criteria in pig herds.

Keywords: Antimicrobial treatment; Biosecurity; Daily weight gain; Feed conversion; Pig; Scoring.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry / methods*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Belgium
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / etiology
  • Swine Diseases / prevention & control*


  • Anti-Infective Agents