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Epidemiological study concerning the characteristics of organic pig farming in selected European countries

Sundrum, Albert; Goebel, Amke; Bochicchio, Davide; Bonde, Marianne; Bourgoin, Aude; Cartaud, Gerald; Dietze, Klaas; Dippel, Sabine; Gunnarsson, Stefan; Hegelund, Lene; Leeb, Christine; Lindgren, Kristina; Lubac, Stanislas; Prunier, Armelle and Wiberg, Sofia (editor): Sundrum, Albert (Ed.) (2011) Epidemiological study concerning the characteristics of organic pig farming in selected European countries. .

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Interviews and on-farm assessments were conducted in a total of 101 organic pig farms in different European countries (Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden) to gain knowledge about farm management and health status of organic pigs in Europe.
66 farms kept at least one age group outdoors while 35 farms kept their pigs exclusively indoors, for the most part with a concrete outside run. Housing and feeding conditions were characterised by a large heterogeneity within and between European countries. On many farms, the feeding regimes seemed suboptimal, leaving ample room for easily feasible improvements. With respect to the health management, some farms made comprehensive use of the various options, whereas many farmers neglected the implementation of preventive measures, including appropriate hygiene and disinfection measures. On the majority of organic farms with indoor housing, the options for disinfection were hindered by the fact that many farms were not able to implement an all-in all-out concept.
In correspondence with the large variation in the living conditions for pigs, also production data and mortality rates differed widely between organic pig farms. According to the estimation by the farmer concerning the occurrence of selected animal health problems, mortality of suckling piglets and weaners and weaning diarrhoea were named as the most relevant disease problems.
Although dedicated to the same minimum standards, it can be concluded that organic pig farming does not provide the same living conditions or a homogenous outcome of animal health parameters but, like all systems, also depends on the quality of management. Differences in management practices, housing conditions, restrictions in the availability of resources (labour time, financial budget etc.), and a lack of feedback and control mechanism within the farm system appears to be a main reason for the substantial variation between farms.

EPrint Type:Report
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: European Union > CORE Organic > COREPIG
Denmark > AU - Aarhus University > AU, DJF - Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Deposited By: Holme, Ms. Mette
ID Code:18428
Deposited On:17 Mar 2011 14:18
Last Modified:17 Mar 2011 14:18
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed
Additional Publishing Information:Core Organic project nr. 1904 - COREPIG

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