Understanding Pig Health and Biosecurity in NSW

NSW Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services are keen to understand what is important to pig owners and producers when thinking about protecting their pigs from pests and diseases.

What is the project about?

There is an increasing risk of emergency animal disease (EAD) outbreaks in the pig sector due to widespread and continuing transmission of African swine fever (ASF) through mainland China and south-east Asia. African swine fever has been confirmed in Timor-Leste some 650km off-shore and more recently in Indonesia’s Sumatra and Bali Islands.

African swine fever has a near 100% mortality rate of infected pigs, with no vaccine currently available. An outbreak of ASF would decimate our pork industry, affecting over 2 million pigs and would likely infect our feral pig population of over 24 million. African swine fever would be almost impossible to eradicate if present among our feral pigs. Biosecurity is crucial in keeping endemic disease under control and containing any exotic emergency animal disease outbreaks in Australia.

It has been estimated that a high spread outbreak lasting 5 years will cost between A$1.5B and A$2.1B (ACIL Allen Consulting, 2019). The effects on rural communities and families would also be catastrophic. To appropriately prioritise and allocate resources, a risk-based approach to improving landholder biosecurity for EADs could reduce the likelihood and mitigate the consequences of a possible outbreak in Australia (Stärk et al., 2006; Matthews, 2011).

The NSW Pig Health and Biosecurity project, undertaken in partnership with Charles Sturt University, is looking at ways to work with pig owners and producers to develop and refine their landholder biosecurity plans to protect against pests, weeds and diseases and be better prepared for any emergency animal disease outbreak, such as ASF. This 3-staged project, to be carried out throughout 2020 will include:

Stage 1

Online survey and producer discussions

Whether you have a pet pig, rescue pig, Christmas pig or are a hobby farmer, smallholder, semi-commercial or commercial producer we want to hear from you!

Stage 2

Targeted education & training opportunities

Survey findings will be used to develop targeted education and training opportunities in all LLS regions state-wide.

Stage 3

Online survey

A follow-up online survey , project review and reporting for ongoing implementation and expansion to other industry sectors.

Get involved

Do you own or produce pigs? We want to hear from you!

Producer discussions

Whether you have a pet pig, a rescue pig, a Christmas pig, are a hobby farmer, semi-commercial or commercial pig producer, we would like to speak with you.

Charles Sturt University, together with NSW Department of Primary Industries, would like to speak with pig owners and producers to better understand pig health and biosecurity practices in NSW.

We’d like to know:

  • How pigs fit into your world
  • How you are informed about pig health and biosecurity practices
  • The areas where you feel you need more help or support with your pig biosecurity practices.

Your experiences and opinions are invaluable in helping us to understand what support is required in NSW keep healthy pigs and protect against African swine fever.

For more information on this research activity, please download the Participant Information Statement (PDF, 167.81 KB) and contact the research team via bfs.education@dpi.nsw.gov.au should you wish to participate.

Online survey

A NSW pig owner and producer pig health and biosecurity online survey was conducted from May to July 2020 to help us better understand people’s opinions and practices on pig health, biosecurity planning and emergency pig disease preparedness.

This state-wide survey has helped to identify some of the challenges you're facing, how these may influence your pig biosecurity practices and how we can support you and your operations through targeted education and training.

NSW Pig Health & Biosecurity survey now open - we want to hear what is important to you when thinking about protecting your pigs from pests and disease