High health in Norway 

Norway is among the best countries in the world for animal health status and a safe starting point for genetic dissemination, delivering semen and live animals with high health and genetic value to the international market. 

By Elisabeth N. Nordbye, CVO and Head of AI at Norsvin  

All of Norway is free from PRRS, PED, Mycoplasma Hyopneumonia, Aujeszky’s disease (pseudorabies), and brucellosis, and the genetic nucleus herds are also free from APP, atrophic rhinitis, mange and swine dysentery. 

The entire Norwegian pig population is organized in a breeding and health pyramid with some important principles for maintaining a high health status. The genetic nucleus herds are closed herds on top of the pyramid and are all SPF from 2024 onwards. Movement of animals between herds is only allowed vertically downwards in the pyramid. All herds on the top two levels of the pyramid are included in the official surveillance program for viral diseases.

Six reasons for the Norwegian high health

  • The country border functions as a boundary for diseases, as there is very limited import of live animals. 
  • Close cooperation exists between Norwegian veterinary authorities, the National Veterinary Institute, private veterinary practitioners, and the industry with the goal of preserving and improving the current good health status.  
  • Natural conditions, like the location far to the north, cool climate, fjords, forests, and mountains, are an advantage. 
  • Neighboring countries at the eastern border also have a high-health pig population.  
  • Low population density: Herds are small and there is a big distance between them as herds are spread all over the country. 

Furthermore, these herds are required to follow a specific health and hygiene regulation, and are subject to health and biosecurity audits performed by a veterinarian three times a year.

Biosecurity for Delta Norway and domestic boar flow  

The good swine health status in Norway is crucial for the ability to send pigs from many different farms to one central testing station. The new central testing station, Delta Norway, will have the SPF status and in general, the number of SPF herds in the country is increasing. There is an exceptionally low disease pressure, which in turn leads to a very low consumption of antibiotics in Norwegian pig production. 

Boars selected for Delta Norway are sourced from 22 Norsvin Landrace and eight TN Duroc genetic nucleus herds. These herds are spread over a large geographic area in southern Norway. If a disease outbreak occurs in one of these herds, the geographic distribution reduces the risk of interruptions in the genetic programs, and a potential reduction in genetic progress.  

The new Delta Norway test station is located far away from other pig farms and agricultural activity that could be a potential health risk. The property is fenced with strict access control, and the activity at the test station and the flow of animals, people and feedstuff is planned to meet high biosecurity standards. All boars are kept in a quarantine unit for three weeks before entering the actual testing facility at Delta Norway. 

Transport of boars from genetic nucleus herds to Delta Norway and between the genetic nucleus herds is done with in-house trucks and by employed drivers. The trucks are washed and disinfected in the company’s own washing facilities.  

Topigs Norsvin benefits  

The company as a whole benefits from this excellent health advantage in several ways. High health is a security for genetic progress. First of all, placing the genetic nucleus structure for Norsvin Landrace and TN Duroc in a country with low disease pressure reduces the risk of interruption in the breeding program and therefore genetic progress.  

Norway is a safe starting point for genetic dissemination, delivering semen and live animals with high health and genetic value to the international market. This contributes to an effective genetic dissemination with low health risks.  

Given the Norwegian model of pig production, Topigs Norsvin genetics have a clear potential when it comes to high health and low antibiotic consumption. Hopefully, some of this knowledge can be used to meet the increasing demand for responsible and sustainable pig production in the future. 

New test and innovation center Delta Norway

A new high-tech test and innovation center will open this year in Norway. Delta Norway has an annual test capacity of 5,000 young boars from the Norsvin Landrace and TN Duroc lines.  

New technical solutions and infrastructure for large-scale data capture will significantly boost our genetic program. Besides individual feed intake registration and performance measurements, the extensive use of sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence will make it possible to track pigs continuously and register fluctuations in their environment and behavior.  

The construction of Delta Norway will be completed in June 2024. The plan is to receive the first animals in July 2024.  

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