2007 Annual Report on Danish Pig Production

By Lindhart B. Nielsen and Orla Grøn Pedersen. This article is an extract taken from the Danish Pig Production's Annual Report for 2007. The report discusses changes in the market, statictics and the economy, plus new techniques for management, health and welfare and environmental. You can view the report in its entirety by clicking on the link provided below.
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Economy and feed prices

Danish Pig Production's Annual Report for 2007

Most pig producers will remember 2007 for the extreme rises in grain prices. On October 1, 100 kg wheat cost approx. DKK 200, if you could get wheat at all.

This is positive for the pig producers, who own land and thereby cultivate their own grain, but it is a tough time for those who depend on purchasing the feed for their pigs. It is a historic situation that the production of pigs does not yield a positive gross margin, and the structural development is accelerating all over Europe. Hopefully, we will soon be witnessing rising pig prices.

American pig producers were able to use maize in the autumn 2007, which costs half the price of grain in Europe. This is a decisive competitive advantage, and we therefore need rules and trade mechanisms that ensure a fast neutralization of mar-ket imbalances. If and when equal conditions are obtained, Danish pig producers will succeed!

Productivity and efficiency

The number of pigs per sow/year is still increasing: in 2006 it averaged 24.9 and the top 25 per cent producers reached 27.8 pigs per sow/year. Lately, we have seen a positive development in decreasing mortality rates in weaner and finisher facilities. It seems that breeding for survival – live pigs on day 5 – is a success, and perhaps the disease picture headed by PMWS is stabilis-ing. The demonstration project “DKK +25 per finisher” also indicates that it is often possible to increase the level further by simple measures.

We need to stop the increasing sow mortality rates, and the aim is that 25 per cent of the sows that today end at DAKA will end at the slaughterhouse in five years. In co-operation with the regional pig production committees, Danish Pig Production is preparing a focused campaign aimed at offering the individual sow owner the possibility of significantly reducing mortality and costs.

Animal welfare and DANISH Product Standard

Danish authorities, politicians and animal welfare organisation always keep an eye on the pig industry, and 2007 was no ex-ception when transport and shoulder ulcers gave the pig industry widespread press attention.

The government has ordered the Ministry of Justice to establish two work groups. One group is to prepare a bill on rooting and enrichment material (straw) for finishers, and the other is to make proposals for solving shoulder ulcer problems.

The shoulder ulcer problem needs to be solved through improved management and not through further legislation. Fortunately, the number of reports to the police has significantly dropped, and it has also been agreed with the practising vets that together with the person in charge of the herd they must focus on shoulder ulcers at every health visit to the herd.

DANISH Product Standard

Danish Pig Production is implementing a new quality assurance scheme called DANISH Product Standard. In the future, all pig producers will be visited every third year by an impartial auditor, who is also a pig expert, from the regional pig production committees who will ensure that the production meets the requirements of Danish legislation not least in terms of animal welfare.

The aim is to create goodwill in the Danish society and at the same time create market access to the German market. In Danish Pig Production we hope that the scheme and the auditors will be well-received as they are supported by all parties – Danish Crown, TiCan, the private slaughterhouses, Danish Pig Producers’ Association etc.

Environmental authorisations

On 1 January 2007, a new Act on Environmental Authorisations came into force that contains significant distance requirements in terms of odour. Unfortunately, the municipal reform has at the same time caused huge delays of up to six months waiting before case-handling even starts. At the time of writing, 700-800 cases have still not been handled. To put it mildly, this is an unsatisfactory situation for a dynamic business such as the pig industry!

As can been seen from this annual report, there has been a great deal of scientific activity in Danish Pig Production this last year.

We are working on finding nutritional and technological solutions to the environmental challenges. We have a documented and efficient breeding system. We ensure a high level of reproduction and AI. We conduct investigations that improve management, feeding and housing facilities, and we work with health and disease management, etc. These are all players in the game of the future competitiveness.

Further Reading

More information - You can view the full report by clicking here.

October 2007
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