•  Low mortality through birth of vital piglets

Piglet mortality in Danish organic pig production is very high with one of three organic piglets dying before weaning. This is a major barrier for obtaining a predicted high growth potential for organic pig production. The high mortality rate seems to be related to litter size beyond the size that can be fostered by the sow and birth of weak pigs. The current breed combination may be less suited for organic production, where sows farrow in in-accessible hutches, having long lactations and with limited possibilities for managing surplus piglets. The project facilitate a reduction in neonatal organic piglet mortality from 33 to 20 % of total born piglets, one extra weaned pig per litter and a one extra kg in average weaning weight. Implementation of these results will increase societal trust in organic pig production due to improved animal welfare.

The project will:

  1. through observational studies in Danish organic herds identify major mortality risk factors at the sow and piglet level 2
  2. new breeding goals and selection tools to target the specific conditions and challenges of the organic sow production
  3. improved environment including access to and methods for birth surveillance and assistance and provision of suitable climate for sow and piglets at the birth site. Finally, best management practise will be demonstrated and knowledge from the research part of the project will be disseminated through consultancy practice, workshops, web pages and written reports.

Project leader

Lene Juul Pedersen
AU Foulum
Phone and mail:
+45 8715 7907

Photos from the project