The National Committee for Pig Production, Annual report 2003

By Danish Bacon & Meat Council, Danish Agriculture, and the Danish Pig Producers’ Association - The National Committee for Pig Production safeguards strategy, development and information tasks concerning the live pig, and has an ordinary net budget for the year 2003/2004 of DKK93.85 million. This report reviews a broad range of issues important to the pig producer.
calendar icon 1 July 2004
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In 2003, the recession really fastened on with negative figures in the accounts and liquidity problems for many pig producers. Furthermore, the Danish price was not competitive compared with that of other countries such as Germany.

Structural development

However, many Danish pig producers are still rather confident about the future, and many renovate and expand their production. These activities also indicate that the structural development continues with undiminished force, and currently, typically very large sow units with sale of weaners for e.g. WTF production are established.

As opposed to many other countries, we have not seen a decrease in the production. The pigs change addresses, and overall the Danish pig production is very stable. The export is increasing. It is therefore crucial that the coming EU transport regulations do not become so extensive that they completely block the indispensable valve that the export to Germany is.

Environmental regulation

The structural development is increasingly controlled by the environmental regulation and the struggle for land, and the pig industry has still not been given a scientific reason for the regulation of max. 140 kg N per hectare from pig slurry. The National Committee for Pig Production works scientifically and positively for a reduction and for a long term balance in the emission of phosphorus. However, a tough regulation in connection with the Action Plan for the Aquatic Environment III will hardly change anything in relation to the aquatic environment, as the field leaching is relatively modest.

In terms of a reduction of odour and ammonia, the many trials carried out by the National Committee in co-operation with the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences and a number of creative companies and inventors prepare the ground for optimism. The technical possibilities are well under way, but much still needs to be clarified. This also applies to the economics and the operational safety, and to how the authorities choose to handle the new options.

Image and animal welfare

No other pig producers can match the Danish ones in terms of the high standards of animal welfare, the low consumption of medication and the efforts in the environmental area. Yet massive press coverage continuously accuses the pig industry of being unscrupulous.

Unfortunately, there are still many herds that do not deal with shoulder sores, tail biting and overcrowding. In the coming months, the National Committee for Pig Production will put extra focus on animal welfare so that pig producers, vets and pig advisors can straighten things out in cooperation.

All pig producers must be able to open up their housing units and receive visitors with or without a TV camera. Compared with other countries, the Danish pigs are housed in production systems that highly benefit animal welfare. And the many new pens and housing units that are being built these years create a decisive head start.

The interpretation of the legislation concerning enrichment/rooting materials for all weaners and finishers is clear, and the National Committee for Pig Production works intensively on providing the necessary scientific solutions that are also practically applicable.

Health and breeding

In its breeding work, National Committee’s effort within fertility has been an unconditional success. The next step will be selecting for better maternal traits to ensure weaning of large and healthy pigs. The mortality in the weaner unit must be reduced and it will be interesting to see the influence of the new gene technological possibilities. The first step has now been taken in terms of selecting for coli diarrhoea.

The consumption of prescription antibiotics is now stabilised after the antibiotic growth promoters were removed from the feed. PMWS is spreading across most of the country. The National Committee has given top priority to PMWS and we work hard on finding the cause and on coming up with efficient methods of treatment.

Nutrition and reproduction

The scientific work of the National Committee contains many interesting projects concerning nutrition and reproduction. Activities that help keeping the costs down and ensure an efficient production. Large sow units with group-housed sows and batch production requires a lot from the management and a stable, high farrowing rate. In the finisher production, one must keep an open eye on the feed conversion that is among others ensured through the new and more need-oriented feed evaluation system. As with Salmonella, progress in terms of nutrition has been made for Lawsonia. The feed is still the key to a good gastro-intestinal health.

Thank you

Despite the economic crisis there is no doubt that the Danish pig industry stands relatively strong. A unique co-operation has been established concerning the scientific development tasks. Pig producers, advisors, companies and governmental research institutions all contribute to the ongoing development and transition process that is the key to success. Thank you for the co-operation.

Yours Sincerely, The National Committee for Pig Production Lindhart Nielsen / Orla Grøn Pedersen

Contents of the annual report 2003


  • Budget and Strategy
  • Sale of breeding stock
  • Productivity
  • Economy
  • Genetic progress
  • Production level
  • Research and development
  • Artificial insemination
  • Longevity of sows
  • Feeding of gestating sows
  • Sow milk
  • Dosing and segregation of feed
  • Feeding of weaners and finishers
  • Lean meat percentage
  • Liquid feeding – a check-list
  • The new feed units
  • Phosphorus in feed and slurry
  • Slurry treatment and economy
  • Ammonia and odour
  • Odour and feed
  • Climate and immediate environment
  • Housing of sows
  • Housing of weaners and finishers
  • Ventilation and energy
  • Legislation on animal welfare
  • Enrichment
  • Ecology and outdoor production
  • The production report – economic follow-up
  • Planning and surveillance of the production
  • Time consumption
  • Human Resources management
  • Pneumonia
  • Reasons for culling of sows
  • Leg problems and hoof trimming
  • Post-weaning diarrhoea
  • Lawsonia
  • PMWS
  • Salmonella
  • Streptococcal meningitis
  • Published results, 2002-2003
  • Subject index
To read the full report, please click here (PDF, 886k)

Source: The Danish National Committee for Pig Production - 2003

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