Russian meat industry sees a surge in biosecurity investment

By Vladislav Vorotnikov

- Last updated on GMT

Russia has a fowl avian influenza problem and is working tirelessly to boost on-farm biosecurity
Russia has a fowl avian influenza problem and is working tirelessly to boost on-farm biosecurity

Related tags Livestock Meat Influenza Poultry

African swine fever (ASF) and avian influenza (AI) are forcing Russian meat producers to pump more cash into biosecurity to protect their assets as the diseases hit industrial farms.

The “excessive measures​ [needed for] biosecurity​” have accounted for, on average, 5- 7% of the price of every pig farm built in Russia since 2014, said the Russian Union of Pork Producers (RUPP) in mid-2017. These measures have been implemented purely because of the rapid spread of ASF throughout the country, RUPP admitted.

Russian pig producers have had to enhance biosecurity recently, as the disease has even been found on the most protected farms owned by leading producers such as Miratorg​ and RusAgro.

Dmitry Sergeev, official press-secretary of Miratorg, told GlobalMeatNews​ that, in response to the ASF threat, the company had to increase the frequency of internal inspections and strengthen disinfection measures applied at pig farms. 

Meanwhile, Miratorg spent RUB4 million (US$80,000) in 2017 on internal monitoring to ensure early identification of any ASF outbreak and to prevent further spread of the virus.

Miratorg has introduced a “regime of maximum biosecurity​” at all its facilities. It has installed additional sanitary locks at the pig farms and has increased the frequency of veterinary studies in the company’s laboratory, Sergeev stressed.

Speaking recently, the director of the Russian pig producer AgroEko, Vladimir Maslov, warned that, in Russia currently, ASF “is burning like a fire gone wild​”. New outbreaks have been reported every week and the pressure of the threat to pig farms was growing “beyond measure​”, he claimed, adding that the company has had to invent new tools to prevent any outbreaks.

AgroEko has lost 42,000 head of pigs due to ASF at its farm, and has had to install several new security systems in response. In particular, ASF can even be brought on to the farm under the fingernails, so the company has invested money in an automatic system to coat the arms of workers with a preventative solution, and does not allow them to enter the production zone until the solution has been washed off completely, Maslov explained.

Elena Trifonova, official spokesperson of Cherkizovo​, declined to comment on the company’s spend on biosecurity, in response to a request from GlobalMeatNews​. RusAgro was also not available for comment.

AI is a new problem

Russia’s veterinary body Rosselkhoznadzor is trying to force poultry farmers to comply with the “basic rules of veterinary safety​”. According to Gabdulhak Motygullin, director of the veterinary department of Tatarstan Republic, some outbreaks have occurred because there were no disinfection barriers at the farms or there were breaches in the infrastructure.

One farm, where an outbreak occurred in 2017, even kept its poultry feed in the open air, so any wild bird infected with AI was able to come and contaminate it, Motygullin claimed. Russian officials have pledged to work more closely with poultry farmers to improve the industry’s biosecurity systems in 2018.  

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