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ERA-NET CORE Organic II: Farm specific strategies to reduce environmental impact by improving health, welfare and nutrition of organic pigs

Document TypeProjectinfo
TitleERA-NET CORE Organic II: Farm specific strategies to reduce environmental impact by improving health, welfare and nutrition of organic pigs
AbstractRobust and competitive organic pig production needs to encompass low environmental impacts and good animal health and welfare. In theory, improving animal health and welfare reduces environmental impacts through decreased medicine use, improved growth rates and feed conversion efficiency. However, as data on environmental impacts are scarce, the extent of such improvement has never been verified on working farms. In organic pig production, health and welfare improvements must be implemented through preventive approaches, optimal disease management and innovative systems regarding outdoor areas. This poses a challenge to the farms. Together, organic regulations, different national welfare regulations and different building traditions have promoted the development of a variety of housing systems, outdoor rearing and management strategies across the EU. The relative environmental impacts of these have not been quantified. This diversity offers real potential to aid improvement, if the ‘best’ can act as role models for others, which might be more effective than adapting practice derived from experimental systems.
Authorpublic source
KeywordsOrganic pig, environmental impact, animal health, welfare, Life Cycle Assessment
AimsProject aim is to analyze relationship between animal health, welfare and environmental impacts.
ResultsOngoing project at the moment. At the beginning of the project husbandry systems will be defined, (e.g. outdoor / partly outdoor / indoor with concrete outside run). After development of on-farm assessment protocols a cross-sectional survey and a prospective cohort study will be carried out on about 25 farms of each system across eight different European countries. Environmental impacts will be assessed using both Life Cycle Assessment and calculations of nutrient balances at farm and outdoor area level. Animal health and welfare will be evaluated from outcome measures of clinical scoring and selected behavioural parameters. Results will be fed back to farmers as benchmarking reports, based on which the farmer will decide farm specific goals and strategies to achieve these. As an outcome all farms create their individual health, welfare and environmental plan, which will be reviewed after one year to allow continuous development. The relationship between health, welfare and environmental impacts will be examined using factor analysis and multiple correspondence analyses. Thereby, farms can be grouped based on common housing and management characteristics, and groups be compared regarding outcome parameters. Furthermore, the effect of farming system on health, welfare and environmental impact will be assessed with multivariate models, taking into account the climatic conditions. The farm specific strategies will be evaluated by assessing within-farm improvement in measured criteria over 12 months.
Beneficiaryfarmers, service providers, association of farmers
ApplicationsThis project includes data recording on organic pig farms, calculations of nutrient balances and Life Cycle Assessment for several contrasting scenarios and the development and evaluation of farm specific improvement strategies.
Created2013-07-10 11:35:50
Last Changed2013-07-10 11:35:50

Related Project Data

TitleERA-NET CORE Organic II: Farm specific strategies to reduce environmental impact by improving health, welfare and nutrition of organic pigs
Type of FinancingNational Financing
Type of ResearchApplied Research
Starting Date2011-12-01
Ending Date2014-10-31
ContactUniversität für Bodenkultur Wien - Department für Nachhaltige Agrarsysteme, Christine Leeb,

Document Categories

Farm Management, Animal Welfare, Housing, Feeding Management, Sustainability, Environmental Protection, Other

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