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Ökologischer Betrieb
© BLE, Bonn/Thomas Stephan
Ökologischer Betrieb
Institute of

BW Farm Economics


Pig husbandry of the future

Partly roofed outdoor pigsty, organic pigs
© BLE/Peter Meyer
Partly roofed outdoor pigsty, organic pigs

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.

Background and Objective

Today's pig farming is being increasingly criticised, especially with respect to the conditions under which they are kept and animal welfare. In addition, the sector is often criticised for the environmental impact of the excessive input of nutrients into soils and waters through the spreading of liquid manure as well as the exhaust air emitted from livestock farms. The challenge for pig farmers is to develop farming systems that are animal-friendly and environmentally-friendly at the same time, while maintaining profitability, and to reconcile potential conflicts of interests.

Against this background, the aim of the project is to compare current pig husbandry systems in Germany and to identify future husbandry systems.


The project compares and ranks different housing systems for piglet production and pig fattening in terms of their performance, production costs, and profitability, as well as environmental impacts, animal welfare, and biosafety, and identifies their strengths and weaknesses. For this purpose, data is collected on the basis of case studies and evaluated with experts in addition to conclusions from other studies. These results form the basis for discussion rounds in which the questions of a) how pigs should be kept in the future and b) how possible trade-offs between different objectives can be resolved are investigated. Furthermore, interviews will be carried out with pig farmers to assess their expectations and preferences for future housing systems.

Our Research Questions

  • Which housing systems for piglet production and pig fattening exist in Germany and how are these to be assessed in terms of production costs? Where are the strong and weak points, e.g. in terms of animal welfare, environmental compatibility, and/or biosafety in these systems?
  • How can housing systems for pigs be designed in the future and how can these be evaluated?
  • What requirements do pig farmers place on future housing systems and what are their preferences? What are the challenges of implementation?


11.2017 - 9.2024

More Information

Project status: ongoing

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