MU Extension biosecurity trailer demonstrates Danish entry system

A biosecurity trailer developed by University of Missouri Extension shows how poultry, swine and all livestock producers can implement a Danish entry system, a cost-effective way to reduce the transmission of pathogens when showering in and out is impractical or unavailable.

With the Danish entry system, the trailer has designated “clean” and “dirty” areas split by a “line of separation.” Before entering the animal area, individuals first enter the “dirty” side of the entry system, where they remove their outer clothing and footwear and disinfect their hands. They then move to the “clean” side and put on clean protective boots and coveralls before going to the animal production area.

“The reason it’s a trailer is we wanted to move it around the state to demonstrate the concept,” said Teng Lim, extension professor of agriculture systems technology. Lim obtained several USDA grants to develop the trailer. “The idea is that you can use a small footprint. A stand-alone or simple add-on structure can be made to intercept normal traffic with a clear line of separation between dirty and clean zones as people enter the farms.”

Operations can modify an existing facility or, for example, add a shed as small as 5 by 9 feet for the system.

“We’re trying to find the right setup for different farms,” Lim said. “A lot of the time, resources and space are limited, and that’s why we want farmers to have the flexibility.”

The trailer will be used across the state at events like the Missouri Swine Institute, Missouri State Fair and FFA events to demonstrate the Danish entry technique and encourage farmers to adopt the practice to improve biosecurity.

Cory Bromfield, assistant extension professor of swine production medicine, said biosecurity on farms is important, but sometimes the price tag looks too big for producers.

“With African swine fever in our neighborhood, globally speaking, I would argue that no cost is too high for the industry; while at the same time, individual producers won’t be able to shoulder that burden,” Bromfield said. “The biosecurity trailer helps to highlight how producers can reap benefits of biosecurity within their budgets.”

During the 2001 U.K. foot-and-mouth disease outbreak, farms with biosecurity plans were five times less likely to get the disease than farms without biosecurity plans.

“If ASF makes it to the U.S., farms with biosecurity plans, including entry of personnel, are going to be more likely to keep the disease off their farm and have pigs to sell,” Bromfield said. “Every producer should consider a secure food supply plan based on their species of interest (dairy, pork, beef, sheep/wool and poultry).”

In 2014 and 2015, when avian influenza came to the U.S., MU Extension helped state and federal authorities deal with the emergency, including disposal of the carcasses.

“Beyond educational extension efforts, the university is working to secure funding to study alternative methods to showering in and out and their effectiveness,” Lim said. “Avian influenza is still with us but, hopefully, it’s going away. But that grabbed a lot of peoples’ attention, and they started asking ‘how can we improve our biosecurity?’”

The biosecurity trailer is on display at MU Extension Animal Disease Outbreak Prevention workshops this spring where smaller producers, environmental managers, agency personnel and veterinarians learn the latest prevention methods.

Lim called them “very resourceful people who will go back and work with a whole bunch of their producers.”

Grants from the USDA Extension Risk Management Education and National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program supported development of the biosecurity trailer.