group of grower pig in commercial swine farm group of grower pig in commercial swine farm

SHIC Wean-to-Harvest Biosecurity Program Funds Additional Research

Ames, IA

  • Advanced Animal Systems

The Swine Health Information Center’s (SHIC) Wean-to-Harvest Biosecurity Research Program, funded with the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the Pork Checkoff, awarded a total of $514,856 to five new wean-to-harvest biosecurity research projects. These new awards addressing biosecurity gaps in the U.S. swine herd bring the total number of projects awarded by the program to 15. Award recipients include Lowe Consulting, Ltd, PIPESTONE, Texas Tech University, University of Missouri and University of Montreal.

The Wean-to-Harvest Biosecurity Program is a response to an identified swine health vulnerability and a collaborative effort to leverage SHIC’s producer Checkoff funds to safeguard the health of the U.S. swine herd. Proactively enhancing wean-to-harvest biosecurity helps control the next emerging disease in the U.S. pork industry.

The five new Wean-to-Harvest Biosecurity Program research projects include:

Dr. James Lowe, Owner, Lowe Consulting, Ltd., $28,875
Trailers hauling pigs to market have the potential to transmit diseases. Yet, transportation vehicles are not always cleaned and disinfected to prevent contamination, thereby threatening wean-to-market biosecurity. To address this challenge, this study is using modeling to determine the minimum number of transport vehicles that need to be decontaminated to stop specific pathogens from spreading. The research will determine the decontamination threshold for various conditions of animal commingling, housing type, transport equipment and more to estimate realistic industry conditions and result in solutions that are cost effective and impactful.

Francisco Cabezon, Research Vice President, PIPESTONE, $61,100
Barn washing is a critical biosecurity measure. However, the traditional use of commercial power washing crews who move their washing equipment from one farm to another can transfer pathogens from barn to barn, presenting a biosecurity risk. To establish improved barn washing protocols that could be managed onsite by producers, PIPESTONE is testing a robotic washing system that reduces the labor needed from outsourced washing crews and, thereby, the risk of disease transmission. Through field trials, the first study is evaluating the use of an automated power washer mounted on a rail system and comparing cleaning time, water usage and workforce time against the traditional manual barn washing techniques. The second part of the study will develop cleanliness benchmarks for swine production facilities.

Dr. John J. McGlone, Professor, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University, $119,018
Pigs commonly receive vaccines by injection, which requires significant skilled labor that is in short supply and costly to producers. The research team led by Texas Tech University is developing and testing the efficacy of an automated, self-administering, needle-free vaccination system for four common pathogens: Lawsonia intracellularis, Influenza A Virus, Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae and Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae. This new technology has the potential to offer producers a faster, less labor intensive and more effective way to vaccinate swine and improve overall barn biosecurity.

Dr. Teng Lim, Extension Professor, Plant Science & Technology, University of Missouri, $179,933
A common practice to minimize the introduction of disease in swine barns is for everyone entering a swine facility to use a shower-in and shower-out system. However, it is a challenge to enforce the use of these systems across all farm workers and personnel. The research team at the University of Missouri is evaluating the effectiveness of an innovative, easy-to-use biosecurity-effective entry system for commercial pig farms to replace the laborious shower-in and shower-out system to provide a simplified, effective alternative for barn entry and exit.

Jean-Pierre Vaillancourt, Full Professor, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Montreal, $125,930
One of the biggest farm biosecurity challenges is the enforcement of safe and hygienic behaviors from barn workers and visitors. To better understand biosecurity compliance, the research team is using social and behavioral sciences to adapt interventions and establish improved biosecurity behaviors. The researchers are validating a radio-frequency-identification-based (RFID) real-time automated monitoring system that captures farm compliance behaviors, such as boot and hand sanitizing techniques, and provides a responsive alarm if people are in breach of safety measures. The researchers are also studying personnel psychological characteristics to better understand behavioral patterns to develop compliance interventions and improved training guidelines.

Each of the awarded research projects take a unique and novel approach to enhancing personnel or transport biosecurity. Investigations will determine the efficacy of new tools or validate novel technologies to reduce the risk of disease spread through these routes. For example, they will look at updating protocols, such as the entry bench, and addressing farms’ labor challenges by reducing the number of individuals entering barns. Projects were reviewed for their value to pork producers and their ability to provide cost-effective biosecurity solutions on the farm. Dr. Megan Niederwerder
Swine Health Information Center Associate Director

SHIC is accepting additional proposals on a rolling basis for research priorities not adequately addressed by proposals submitted by the original April 30 deadline. Information on the how to apply is available on the FFAR website.

SHIC, FFAR and Pork Checkoff launched the two-year Wean-to-Harvest Biosecurity Program in the fall of 2022. The first call for research proposals was announced in October 2022 with the goal of investigating cost-effective, innovative technologies, protocols or ideas to enhance biosecurity during the wean-to-harvest phases of swine production. Round one projects, launched in March 2023, received approximately $1 million. Round two proposals were due April 2023 and began summer 2023. Approximately $2.3 million is available for the entire program.


Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.

Connect: @FoundationFAR

Swine Health Information Center

The Swine Health Information Center, launched in 2015 with Pork Checkoff funding, protects and enhances the health of the U.S. swine herd by minimizing the impact of emerging disease threats through preparedness, coordinated communications, global disease monitoring, analysis of swine health data, and targeted research investments. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages sharing of its publications and research. Forward, reprint, and quote SHIC material freely. For more information, visit or contact Dr. Paul Sundberg at or Dr. Megan Niederwerder at

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