Standing room only at R8 Salmonella roadshow

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It was standing room only at the first R8 Salmonella roadshow last month, with producers enthusiastic to hear about the interim results from the four-year project and put best practice advice in place on farm to help protect their herds.

Emma Bailey-Beech, health information and food safety coordinator for AHDB Pork, attended the event in East Anglia and outlines the background behind the R8 Salmonella project.

“Around three years ago, DEFRA agreed to fund a four-year research project – coined ‘R8’ – which the APHA (Animal Plant Health Agency) is delivering, to understand more about the issue of Salmonella within the sector and, importantly, provide feedback on effective ways of controlling the bacteria on-farm.”

Emma Bailey-Beech

“Around three years ago, DEFRA agreed to fund a four-year research project – coined ‘R8’ – which the APHA (Animal Plant Health Agency) is delivering, to understand more about the issue of Salmonella within the sector and, importantly, provide feedback on effective ways of controlling the bacteria on-farm.

“The project isn’t due to finish for another year, however, the purpose of the recent roadshow was to present provisional results to producers so that they can start making management changes on farm to help reduce their Salmonella levels.”

There were some really strong key messages to come out of the event that she’d urge producers to consider on their units.

“A couple of areas that particularly struck a chord were the importance of maintaining foot dips and dilution rates, effective manure management and preventing birds from accessing units.”

She goes on to explain each of these protocols in more detail.

“Becky Gosling from the APHA gave a particularly interesting presentation on her trial results so far and highlighted the importance of choosing the right disinfectant for the right job. For example, a different disinfectant should be used for foot dipping and for cleaning buildings.”

It’s also important to ensure that buildings are fully cleaned and dried before any disinfectant is used. Checking dilution ratios and ensuring that foot dips are regularly refreshed to ensure that they’re working effectively is also vital.

“Producers were also reminded about manure management and in particular the issue of surface run-off. They were informed that, where possible, manure should be stored away from buildings and farm staff should avoid walking and driving close to the area to reduce the risk of cross contamination.

“A final key point raised to producers was the idea of preventing birds from entering units, both indoor and outdoor, as they can carry Salmonella and could maintain infection between batches of pigs. Solutions included feeding outdoor pigs inside the ark or in troughs to discourage birds.”

Emma concludes by reminding producers that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to reducing Salmonella levels on-farm. Therefore, producers should consider the points raised above and think specifically about how they can apply them to their own units.

There will be more regional roadshows going on throughout 2016. For more details, contact Emma. Email: Emma.Bailey-Beech@ahdb.org.uk Mobile: 07772 929898.