Institute of

Organic Farming

Organic Pig Produktion

Consumers of organic produced pork expect that it is eco- and animal-friendly produced and of improved taste and flavour. The corresponding process and product qualities can only be met with the help of respective production systems in piglet production and in pig fattening. But there exists still a gap between expectations and reality. The research of the Thünen-Institute of Organic Farming wants to fill this gap.

System related research focuses on environmentally sound production systems which also guarantee animal welfare. The research on production systems in piglet production and in pig fattening aims at performance, animal health, animal losses, behaviour, and emissions concerning sows, piglets, and growing-finishing pigs.

It is the aim of the Institute’s research to generate rationally based knowledge for the whole value chain and politics to develop the whole sector.

Wesentliche Handlungsfelder beziehen sich auf Mängel sowohl in der Prozess- wie auch Produktqualität und bei entsprechender Kombination beider auf eine daraus resultierende unbefriedigende Wirtschaftlichkeit. Bei einer Systembetrachtung der Schweinehaltung besteht wesentlicher Forschungsbedarf hinsichtlich ihrer Umweltwirkungen und Tiergerechtheit. Auf die Ebene der Produktionsverfahren heruntergebrochen, stehen Fragen in der Ferkelerzeugung und in der Schweinemast zu den biologischen Leistungen, der Tiergesundheit, den Verlusten, dem Verhalten und dem Emissionsgeschehen bei Sauen, Ferkeln und Mastschweinen im Mittelpunkt.

Ziel der Arbeit ist die Generierung von rational basierten Erkenntnissen, die der gesamten Wertschöpfungskette bis hin zur Politik zur Verfügung gestellt werden und für die Weiterentwicklung des Sektors genutzt werden können.

Organic Piglet Production

In organic piglet production, considerable optimisation work remains to be done concerning process quality. Projects focus on keeping & feeding, animal welfare & behaviour, and performance of lactating sows, as well as suckling and rearing piglets.


Organic Pig Fattening

In organic pig fattening, considerable optimisation work remains to be done concerning process quality as well as product quality. Projects focus on the integration of growing-finishing pigs into the organic farming system in terms of choice of the genotype, diets of 100% organic origin and waiving of castration concerning performance, carcass & meat quality, health status, loss rates, and emissions.


Projects

 (©  Thünen-Institut/Solveig March)
Lameness in breeding sows
Sows in conventional husbandry often suffer from diseases in their locomotor systems, leg injuries and lameness. What is the situation on organic farms where pigs have outdoor runs? What risk factors have the most influence here?
 (©  Thünen-Institut/Kathrin Höinghaus)
Boar fattening
The acceptance of piglet castration is declining. Therefore, boar fattening could be an alternative. But the problems of boar taint are still not finally resolved.
 (©  Thünen-Institut/Kathrin Höinghaus)
Piglet feeding strategies
Organic agriculture is characterised as a low external input system, minimising the use of non farm-own resources. Hence, livestock's nutrient supply should be of predominantly farm-own production and of complete organic origin.
 (©  Thünen-Institut/Solveig March)
Castration of piglets
Castration without anaesthesia shall be banned in 2018. But the currently approved anaesthetics for pigs are probably suboptimal under organic housing conditions.
 (©  Thünen-Institut für Ökologischen Landbau)
Environmental and welfare aspects of pig outdoor runs
Organic livestock production shall promote animal welfare and environmental compatibility. To this effect, pig outdoor runs exemplarily demonstrate a still unresolved contradiction.
Leguminosen (©  BLE, Bonn/Foto: Thomas Stephan)
Evaluation of organic feedstuffs
Organic farmers should feed the animals with 100 % organic produced feedstuffs in the near future. Not only ruminants, but also monogastric animals – poultry and swine – must be feed with protein from domestic feedstuffs to meet requirements.
 (©  Thünen-Institut/Kathrin Höinghaus)
Group suckling
The above mentioned project is part of a 5 parts joint project (06oe266) which focuses on nutrition, keeping, desinfection and temperature control in the organic piglet production.
 (©  Thünen-Institut/OL)
Genotype-Environment-Interaction in organic pig fattening
A main factor for profiling poor developed organic pork production is the choice of the right genotype. Therefore modern and old breeds are tested for genotype-environment-interaction concerning various criteria of performance, carcass, meat and fat quality.
 (©  Thünen-Institut/Friedrich Weißmann)
Compensatory growth
For lack of organic feed with a high quality amino acid pattern (protein gap), there is the danger of impaired value creation in organic pig fattening due to low body protein but high body fat synthesis of organic fattening pigs. Against that background the objective of our study was to investigate whether a moderate oversupply of lysine in the final fattening period after a marginal lysine supply in the initial feeding period will result in compensatory protein growth.
 (©  Thünen-Institut)
Prolonged suckling period
The use of portions of Duroc in fattening pigs is often recommended in organic pork production. It is the aim to investigate the effect of varying percentages of the genotype Duroc in organic fattening pigs on performance, carcass and meat quality.
 (©  Thünen-Institut für Ökolgischen Landbau)
Duroc percentages
The use of portions of Duroc in fattening pigs is often recommended in organic pork production. It is the aim to investigate the effect of varying percentages of the genotype Duroc in organic fattening pigs on performance, carcass and meat quality.
 (©  Thünen-Institut/Christina Well)
Group suckling
The above mentioned project is part of a 5 parts joint project (06oe266) which focuses on nutrition, keeping, desinfection and temperature control in the organic piglet production.
 (©  Thünen-Institut/Jessica Raabe)
More iron for healthier piglets
The iron demand of suckling piglets cannot be met from sows´ milk alone, but relies on iron uptake from the environment (e.g. rooting). Because that´s not possible under modern housing conditions, iron must be supplemented.