Annette Pontillo
Institute of Organic Farming

Trenthorst 32
23847 Westerau
Phone: +49 4539 8880 0

entire male pig fattening


 (c) Thünen-Institut/Kathrin Höinghaus

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.

Background and Objective

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.

It is the aim of the project to promote a risk-minimized organic boar fattening by recommendations concerning (i) minimizing the rate of carcasses with boar taint and (ii) processes and recipes in meat products to suppress boar taint.


The whole project consists of two modules whereas module 1 described below relates to the Thünen-Institute of Organic Farming.

Module 1 implies (i) the test of two different terminal sire lines and the dietary use of raw potato starch and (ii) the transport of carcasses with strong boar taint to the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences for process and recipe research.

Module 2 implies on-farm fattening of entire male pigs and support for the meat processing companies by the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences.

In both modules, University of Göttingen is responsible for chemical and sensory boar taint analyses.

University of Gießen is responsible for the overall coordination of the whole project.

Data and Methods

Module 1 is realised on the eco-certified research farm of the Thünen-Institute of Organic Farming. Two terminal sire lines (Piétrain, Duroc) and the use of 10% raw potato starch for finishing pigs heavier than 95 kg live weight (control group without supplement) are tested for performance, carcass quality, meat quality, and rate of boar taint. A sensory panel, trained by Göttingen University, identifies carcasses with strong boar taint for Anhalt University of Applied Sciences. A total of about 280 entire male pigs should be achieved within the 3-year-project.

A second period (from 2016 till end of 2017) deals with the influence of two contrary roughage sources (grass-clover-silage versus straw) on skatole contents.

Preliminary Results

The project is still running.

It could be demonstrated in the first project part that feeding of native potato starch over a period of one month at the end of the fattening period has a skatole diminishing effect for growing-finishing pigs originating from Piétrain terminal sire lines.

Links and Downloads


Involved Thünen-Partners

Involved external Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE)
    (national, öffentlich)


9.2012 - 3.2018

More Information

Projekt type:
Project funding number: 2811OE144
Funding program: Bundesprogramm Ökologischer Landbau und andere Formen nachhaltiger Landwirtschaft (BÖLN)
Project status: ongoing


hits: 2

  1. Höinghaus K, Bussemas R, Weißmann F (2014) Fütterungsversuch zur Senkung der Skatolbelastung in der ökologischen Ebermast. KTBL Schr 504:104-111
  2. Höinghaus K, Weißmann F (2014) Perspektiven der Ebermast. Bio Land(9):30-31