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Ökologischer Betrieb
Ökologischer Betrieb
Institute of

BW Farm Economics

Pig and Poultry

Pork and poultry are the most popular types of meat in Germany. Of the total of around 55 kg of meat consumed, pork accounted for around 31 kg and poultry for around 13 kg in 2021 - with a significant decrease in pork for several years. In recent years, the production of pork has also decreased significantly, and there has been a slight decrease in poultry. The Covid19 pandemic and the occurrence of African Swine Fever in 2021 and the associated export restrictions have led to a severe crisis in the pig sector, with Germany also losing its position as the largest pork exporter. In addition, there are regional environmental problems and animal welfare issues that are being discussed more and more critically by society and also addressed by politicians.

Against his background we address the following questions:

  • How do economic and political framework conditions affect the competitiveness of the farms?
  • What are drivers of the current development? How did farm-level costs and returns develop in the past?
  • How does the structural change affect German pig and poultry farms?
  • What are the costs (and returns) associated with production systems which are more environmental friendly and provide higher levels of animal welfare?
  • How can pig and poultry farms reduce the negative impacts on environment and animal welfare without losing their competitiveness?

Because of the dependence on exports, these questions can only be answered in an international context. Therefore, a large part of the work takes place in the context of the agri benchmark Pig Network, which is coordinated by the institute. Furthermore, the institute is an active member of the international InterPIG network.

Projects of Pig and Poultry

agri benchmark Pig

Pork is the most popular meat in the world. The network agri benchmark Pig analyses the profitability of pig production and determines the competitiveness at production system and farm level

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agri benchmark Pig

Broiler production systems

Calculating the profits per bird and for the enterprise on the whole, as well as the labour income in free range and organic production systems compared with conventional broiler production

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Broiler production systems

Cost of pig production

Calculation of comparable values on the basis of a method unique for all countries. The data are updated each year.

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Cost of pig production

Economic analysis of interventions to enhance food safety of animal products along the food chain

Infectious diseases that are transmissible between animals and humans, so-called zoonoses, have gained in importance worldwide in recent years. The reasons cited for this include increasing mobility and growing global trade. In addition to damage to health, zoonoses can also have a significant economic impact.

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Economic analysis of interventions to enhance food safety of animal products along the food chain

Economic assessment of food safety with regard to zoonoses

What are the economic consequences of food crises and which costs are caused by measures to increase food safety?

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Economic assessment of  food safety with regard to zoonoses

Economic evaluation of husbandry systems with different animal welfare levels

Germany wants to be a pioneer in animal welfare and has stricter requirements for this than most other countries in the world. An important milestone was the abolition of cage systems for laying hens. But is everything all right now? All the farming systems currently in use have their weaknesses and there is still no way in sight to overcome them.

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Economic evaluation of husbandry systems with different animal welfare levels

Environmental and animal protection - too expensive for producers?

To which extent are EU and non-EU producers affected by legal regulations and how does this impact on their competitiveness?

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Environmental and animal protection  - too expensive for producers?

Housing and husbandry systems of the future

None of today's widespread systems in use are convincing in all parameters. There are major differences between the systems in terms of animal welfare, re-source efficiency, production costs and profitability. Digitalisation can help to improve existing processes or to develop completely new systems. The project "Stable and housing systems of the future" is an in-house project for the development of innovative, automated and sustainable stable systems in livestock farming.

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Housing and husbandry systems of the future

Impact of meat and dairy exports on developing countries

German exports of livestock products to Africa are frequently criticized. We analyze how these exports actually affect domestic poultry and milk production using Ghana and Senegal as examples.

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Impact of meat and dairy exports on developing countries

International competitiveness of pig production in the context of animal welfare aspects

Selected measures for more animal welfare and their economic consequences on animal performance, productivity and profitability of the sow and finishing enterprises in Germany are investigated. On the basis of this, it will be analysed to what extent these measures will change the international competitiveness of pig production.

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International competitiveness of pig production in the context of animal welfare aspects

Laying hens in small group systems - is it profitable?

Economic efficiency of small group systems for laying hens in Germany

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Laying hens in small group systems - is it profitable?

On-going evaluation of five RDP in Germany from 2014 to 2020: Effects on animal welfare

In cooperation with the Thünen-Institute of Rural Studies, the Thünen-Institue of International Forestry and Forest Economics and entera, the Thünen-Institute of Farm Economics evaluates the Rural Development Programs (RDP) of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony / Bremen.

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On-going evaluation of five RDP in Germany from 2014 to 2020: Effects on animal welfare

Pig husbandry of the future

How should pigs be kept in the future? We compare different housing systems in piglet production and pig fattening from different perspectives and aim at identifying housing systems for the future.

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Pig husbandry of the future

Turkeys with untrimmed beaks - A practice-based project with media knowledge transfer

The aim of the practice-oriented project with media knowledge transfer is to test an overall package of animal welfare measures on farms with turkey hens in order to achieve optimal husbandry conditions. The misbehaviour of the animals should thus be reduced to a minimum, so that in the medium term the shortening of the upper beak will become redundant.

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Turkeys with untrimmed beaks - A practice-based project with media knowledge transfer

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