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A system for efficiently correlating the health status in pig production

To develop a comprehensive information system which will enable efficient management of the health status in pig production.

At present, swine and pork production is reaching profitability limits. Due to a predominance of supply over demand and growing pressure from trade chains, any significant increase in the purchase price of slaughter pigs - a final product of farming, i.e. primary production - cannot be expected. Profitability can be increased by decreasing costs and improving productivity. In the unified European market, primary producers can succeed only if they are capable of producing pigs at a competitive price. An important limiting factor to productivity is the health status of pigs. Diseases result in losses to a farmer and can be divided into direct and indirect losses: - Direct losses: * Pig mortality (investment losses in feed consumed by animals during their life and in the rearing of their mothers; costs of carcass disposal). * Culling rate. * Fewer piglets reared per sow per year. - Indirect losses: * Decreased daily weight gain (prolonged fattening period). * Increased feed conversion ratio (more feed consumed per kg meat produced). * Uneven growth rate causing difficulties in feeding management and movements of animals within a farm (the all in - all out system is optimal for large pig units, i.e. animals with the narrowest possible weight range all housed in one hall). * Uneven pigs at slaughter (losses due to the allocation of a higher proportion of pigs in the less paid SEUROP classes = classifying pigs according to percentage of meat in the carcass). Diseases and their negative economic impacts can be minimized by introducing a suitable health programme. For its optimisation, individual diseases must be defined, losses due to the diseases identified and calculated, and efficient measures taken. Each production unit is unique in terms of the health status, therefore the measures must be adjusted to the situation in that particular unit. Because the herd health status is changing over the course of time, the efficiency of the programme must be monitored and continually adjusted according to the situation. When developing and modifying health programmes, a large amount of input data from several sources must be processed: - Production parameters of the herd - mortality, culling rate, average daily weight gain, feed conversion ratio, microclimate values. - Biosecurity measures implemented - terms, products used, expenses. - Diagnosis results - necropsy reports, laboratory evaluations, slaughter examinations. - Work at the abattoir. At present this data has no common format, and it exists as text files and tables, printed reports, hand written texts and charts. Between different groups of data there are no links, and in field conditions it is time consuming and difficult to define ensuing connections, identify relevant measures, and evaluate their efficiency after a period of time. The aim of the project is to develop a computer system that will record the above-mentioned groups of data and perform their real time evaluation. An outcome will be information that will make the herd economic situation easier for the farmer to survey and will assist in being able to evaluate returns on investment in pig health. Benefits for a veterinarian or consultant include a faster understanding of the existing situation and the ability to define efficient measures to take, and to evaluate them on a continuous basis. In the current situation, this is very difficult and in practice often impossible to do. The existing software applications for pig production enable only record-keeping of the basic herd and analysis of reproduction parameters, or controlled pig feeding. However, they do not include the health of animals and subsequent evaluation of economic parameters. Because these systems have already been introduced in pig farms, a module for data collection also from the existing information systems will be developed. This is important from the marketing point of view because a customer will not have to switch over to a new system in an area where computer data processing has already been established such as reproduction and feeding, and will be offered a new possibility to reflect on the health status of the farm economy. Keywords: swine, health, management.
Acronym: 
EKONOPORK
Project ID: 
3 583
Start date: 
01-01-2006
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
500 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Knowledge Management, Process Management
Market Area: 
Animal Husbandry

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.