Investigation on the exemplary implementation of a sustainable production of entire males under organic production procedures along the production, the slaughtering, the processing and the marketing chain
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.
Entire male pig fattening or boar fattening is related with the occurrence of boar taint which smells of urine and sweat for sensitive persons. The main components are androstenone and skatole. Castration is the best way to avoid boar taint. The absence of testis prevents from androstenone synthesis and promotes skatole reduction in the liver. But castration – even under anaesthesia and analgesia – increasingly forfeits its social acceptance.
The aim of the project was to promote a risk-minimized organic boar fattening by producing recommendations for producers how to minimize the rate of carcasses with boar taint.
The whole project, which is a national joint project funded by BÖLN and with the project partners Giessen University, Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, University of Göttingen and Thünen Institute of Organic Farming, is conducted in three stages.
The following aspects have been the responsibility of Thünen Institute of Organic Farming:
In stage 1, the effect of two different genotypes and a supplementary feed component in the final fattening period on animal performance and occurence of boar taint was tested.
In stage 2, the effect of the source of roughage was tested in an experiment with only one genotype, but two types pf roughage.
In stage 3, the potential of a novel vaccination scheme against boar taint was evaluated under the circumstances of organic pig husbandry.
In phase 1 (2012-2015) , a total of 280 entire male fattening pigs differing in the genotype of their fathers (Piétrain vs. Duroc) were either fed a normal compound feed or received an additional 10 % raw potato starch during the final fattening period (> 95 kg live weight). Dat collection included fattening and slaughter performance, meat quality and the occurence of boar taint.
In phase 2 (2016-2018), a total of 144 entire male fattening pigs of the same genotype received either grass clover silage or straw as their mandatory roughage. The research question was if the type of roughage would influence the occurence of boar taint.
In stage 3 (2018-2020), a novel vaccination scheme againt boar taint was compared with a standard vaccination scheme with regard to their effect on the success of castration and the occurence of boar taint.
In the first stage of the project, feeding 10 % raw potato starch resulted in lower skatole levels in entire males with Piétrain fathers.
The second stage of the project found no significant effect of the type of roughage on the occurence of boar taint.
In the third phase of the project, both early and conventional vaccination regime resulted in a good fattening and slaughter performance. However, the early vaccination regime could not completely prevent the occurrence of boar taint, whereas the conventionally vaccinated group did not have any odorous carcasses.
In all three project phases, typical boar behaviour could be observed, but did not lead to significant injuries. It can therefore be concluded that the management on the experimental farm allows boar fattening at a good animal welfare level. This includes stable groups from piglet rearing onwards, an outdoor run with regularly renewed straw bedding and the supply of roughage.
9.2012 - 5.2020
Project funding number: 2811OE144
Funding program: Bundesprogramm Ökologischer Landbau und andere Formen nachhaltiger Landwirtschaft (BÖLN)
Project status: finished
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