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IDENTIFICATION OF BEST PRACTISES AND INNOVATIVE IDEAS WITHIN ORGANIC PIG PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IN EUROPE

Dinesen Jensen, Line; Thomsen, Rikke and Kongsted, Anne Grete (2020) IDENTIFICATION OF BEST PRACTISES AND INNOVATIVE IDEAS WITHIN ORGANIC PIG PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IN EUROPE. .

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Summary

Pig production on pasture support the organic principles of natural living and comply well with consumer expectations but pasture access is limited in European pig production even within the organic production. Combining indoor housing and pasture systems might be a way forward supporting animal welfare and reducing the well-recognised high risk of ammonia emissions from concrete outdoor runs.
The overall aim of this report was to support a wider adoption of combined indoor and pasture systems in organic pig production across Europe through presentation of inputs from stakeholders collected across Europe in the Core Organic Cofund project “Proven welfare and resilience in organic pig production” (POWER).
In total 120 organic pig producers, consultants and veterinarians participated in workshops and/or interviews across eight countries (Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland). The participants were asked to point out positive and negative aspects of rearing pigs on pasture and in indoor housing systems with outdoor runs, best practice examples and innovative ideas for further development of organic pig production systems.
The inputs revealed large differences between countries in practice and housing designs. In the majority of countries, indoor housing with access to outdoor runs is the most common system used for sows and growing- finishing pigs. In a few countries, pasture concepts are still widely used e.g. in Denmark and in France (pregnant and lactating sows all year round) and Sweden (all pigs in summer season).
Positive aspects of indoor concepts mentioned were e.g. possibility to control housing climate (moderate temperatures year-round) and to collect manure/nutrients for use in the crop rotation and treatment of individual pigs is easier. On the other hand, negative aspects mentioned were less opportunity for the pigs to perform natural behaviour (e.g. rooting), very expensive to establish, poor hygiene in the outdoor runs and therefore high risk of ammonia losses. With regard to pasture systems, positive aspects mentioned were e.g. that the pigs in general are more robust and healthier with lower infection rates, have very good opportunities to perform natural behaviour, cheap to establish and it gives the production a good image. Negative aspects mentioned where risk of nutrient leaching, lack of shade, muddy soils, heavy workload, difficult to isolate and handle sick animals and concerns about the future situation with African Swine Fewer.
The participants mentioned a range of best practice examples e.g. improving the attractiveness of outdoor runs through implementation of enrichment (rooting facilities, straw and roughage) and thermoregulatory facilities (shade, sprinklers and wind protection) as well as automatic sorting systems to ease weighing and feeding of growing-finishing pigs. Adopting cooling facilities in terms of wallow were mentioned as best practice examples in pasture systems. Furthermore, pasture rotation/integration in crop rotation were mentioned to improve parasite control, maintain vegetation and reduce risk of nutrient leaching.
Many innovative ideas were put forward at the workshops/interviews to improve animal welfare and reduce environmental impacts. It was e.g. suggested to combine the current housing system and the outdoor runs with access to pasture with trees, planting of trees (or other tall crops) close to the outdoor run to provide shade, implementing automatic-controlled covers in outdoor areas adapting automatically to the actual weather situations, and employing a fan that blows cool air below lactating sows when they are standing to cool the sows in hot seasons and to keep newborn piglets away from a risky situation.
In a close cooperation with organic pig producers, future research and innovations are needed to further develop indoor and pasture concepts, respectively, and to explore how to best combine indoor and pasture concepts to “have the best of both worlds”.


EPrint Type:Report
Agrovoc keywords:
Language
Value
URI
English
UNSPECIFIED
UNSPECIFIED
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Pigs
Research affiliation: European Union > CORE Organic Cofund > POWER
Deposited By: Christensen, Jytte
ID Code:38632
Deposited On:01 Dec 2020 13:02
Last Modified:01 Dec 2020 13:02
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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