Pigs are susceptible to many different diseases, which is why it's standard operating procedure to power wash and disinfect a barn before a new group of pigs arrives. But, how do you keep the barn clean when pigs are in it? Bringing animals into a barn immediately elevates barn bacteria, as well as pH and ammonia levels. So, how can you continue protecting pigs beyond the routine "between groups" disinfection?
"It's common practice to disinfect the barn between pig groups and rely on vaccines to protect against disease threats," says Morgan Hart, monogastric specialist at Protekta. "However, there's more we can do to protect pigs once they are in the barn. Germicide powder is a great way to keep barns disinfected and pigs healthy through the time they enter the barn until they leave it."
Germicide powder kills bacteria, viruses, fungi and in some instances, parasites and fly larvae by creating unfavorable growing conditions. The combination of dry ingredients absorbs water, neutralizes ammonia and lowers pH to inhibit the production of pathogens.
Here are a few reasons to consider using a dry germicide powder on your swine operation:
Combat disease threats
Even when swine barns look clean, bacteria and other pathogens can hide on the surface, causing scours, pneumonia, dysentery and a host of other diseases.
"Typical drying agents simply reduce moisture and odor, but germicide powder is specially formulated with a wide spectrum of ingredients at a certain pH level," says Hart. "The pH level of those ingredients creates an unfavorable environment for bacteria and viruses, reducing the chance for disease spreading through the herd."
Protect animals in the barn
Instead of only disinfecting the barn between pig groups, germicide powder offers a way to disinfect while pigs are in the barn – providing continued protection from disease threats.
"Germicide powder is proven to kill pathogens yet is gentle enough to be used in the presence of animals," says Hart. "The all-natural formulation doesn't harm the eyes, lungs or skin of animals, so it can be used daily to weekly as needed."
Germicide powder can be applied within a matter of minutes, yet it can eliminate pathogen loads for up to a full week. It offers a low-stress, low-labor means of disinfection that doesn't require handling, moving or transporting pigs.
Reduce wetness, safely
In addition to protecting against disease threats in the barn, germicide powder is a safer option for reducing wetness and odor.
"A drying agent like hydrated lime breaks down the protective layer of a pig's skin, known as the sebum layer," says Hart. "And, if a pig's skin becomes dry and cracked, it creates another entry point for viruses and bacteria that may be present on the farm. Germicide powder absorbs moisture and odor without negatively impacting the pig's skin condition."
Germicide powder can also provide a safer surface for farm employees by eliminating wetness, without becoming slippery like limestone.
Easy to apply with multiple uses
Unlike liquid disinfectants, dry germicide does not need to be mixed with water. The powder is sprayed, spread or hand-tossed for application throughout a swine building or spot treating specific areas.
Germicide powder can also be used in:
• Nooks and crannies: Fill the gaps – literally – between wash downs and keep biosecurity in check.
• Footbaths: Use as a dry boot dip disinfectant between rooms in your barn – farrowing, nursery, grow/finish – to help prevent cross-contamination from one section of the barn to another.
• Truck ramps and tires: Spray dry powder germicide on feed truck tires and loading ramps to control transmitting bacteria from outside sources.
• Any season: A dry germicide also provides the added benefit of year-round use without freezing in a footbath or on a truck ramp.
Visit the Protekta site for more tips on protecting your swine operation from bacteria and disease.