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Open Access Brief communication

Reproductive performance in pigs reared under organic conditions compared with conventionally reared pigs

Ylva Lindgren1, Nils Lundeheim2, Sofia Boqvist3 and Ulf Magnusson1*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Reproduction, Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 7054, Uppsala SE-750 07, Sweden

2 Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 7023, Uppsala, SE-750 07, Sweden

3 Department of Biomedicine and Public health, University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 7028, Uppsala, SE-750 07, Sweden

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Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2013, 55:33  doi:10.1186/1751-0147-55-33

Published: 17 April 2013

Abstract

Background

To achieve a competitive reproductive performance in organic pig farming is a major challenge for this farming practise. Practices and research data regarding conventional pig production are not always applicable to organic production, why field studies are needed to identify differences in performance between organic and conventional pig farms in order to identify areas for improvement.

Results

Performance data for one year was collected from 5 organic herds that had more than 30 sows in production and used a computerized recording system, and data from five nearby conventional farms with more than 30 sows and the same recording system were used as a comparison. In total data from 4697 farrowings were analyzed. In the organic pig herds, there were a higher total number of piglets born per litter (p=0.001), a higher number of piglets stillborn per litter (p<0.001), but a tendency (p<0.06) to lower number of weaned pigs per litter and longer nursing period (p<0.001) and farrowing interval (p<0.001).

Conclusions

The reproductive performance was lower in the organic herds and the variation in reproductive performance among the organic herds was larger than among the conventional ones, suggesting options for improvement in the organic herds.

Keywords:
Pigs; Reproduction; Organic farming