Industry Partners

Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan

Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:

Author(s): Niels-Peder Nielsen
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Reference: Banff Pork Seminar 2003
Country: Canada


Danish pig production has increased considerably since Denmark became a member of the European Community in 1972. As of 2000 about 85% was exported to over 100 countries. Recently the European Union made group-housing systems for gestating sows mandatory. The Danish act on sow housing includes group housing from four weeks after service until seven days before farrowing, specific space requirements, solid floors, and a cooling system. Simple group housing systems are relatively cheap but offer little control over sows feed intake, lower the live born pigs, and some sows lose body condition and must be removed. Electric sow feeding systems (ESF) allow sows to be individually fed while residing in groups. Early trials churned out negative results, some including increased risk of abortion, loss of embryos, and higher mastitis incidence in gilts. A high transition period plagued the industry with a 1 to 1.5 year adjustment of herd and management to group housing (which can lead to reduced productivity and an increased cull rate). The Danish Applied Pig Research Scheme (DAPR) developed a set of recommendations for ESF: pen design should have a separate eating and dunging area, lying area should accommodate all sows comfortably, straw must be provided in the lying area, must have 1.1 to 1.3 m2 per sow, and more. They all help to minimize productivity loss when adapting to the ESF. Free access stalls are low tech and becoming popular. They are more expensive because one stall is required for each individual but it provides individual control over feed intake.

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