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2 Level 2

Breeder organization

Breeding organizations supply the genetic basis for pig farms. They produce sows and boars with specific genetic properties aimed at reducing health problems and improving meat properties. Two examples:

German breeding organization

World-wide breeding organization


This type of breeder is a farm providing direct input to farrowing farms (or piglet producers). They produce semen, sows, and boars. They apply strict safety procedures and deliver customized solutions for their clients.

Well-know breeders are:

Pic and

Hypor - In The Netherlands the artificial insemination services for Hypor are executed by Preferent KI

Farrowing farm

Farrowing farms produce and raise piglets. Four months after insemination, breeding sows will deliver 8-12 piglets. These piglets are weaned after two weeks and moved to nurseries. In about 10 weeks they are raised to approximately 25 kg. After weaning, sows are moved to sow pens or crates to prepare them for insemination again after three to five days. Farrowing companies usually have one or two boars to detect which sows can be inseminated. It is important to inseminate at a specific time because the oestrous period does not last very long. On farrowing farms, male piglets are castrated in the first week of their life, to prevent so-called boar taint of pork meat.

Pictures from Rennes cd (German cd is also coming)

Finishing farm

Finishing farms raise piglets from the previous stage until they reach a weight of about 110 kg. They are about six month old at that time. Most finishing companies are separate farms, but some farms have both farrowing sows and finishing pigs.

German cd is coming


Slaughtering needs to occur in dedicated companies. When pigs arrive at the slaughterhouse, they are kept enclosed for some time in lairage (rest areas) to reduce stress levels. High stress levels negatively influence meat quality (Ph, water holding capacity, color, etc). The modern slaughter process is a very efficient and highly sanitary process consisting of the following actions: stunning, bleeding, hair removal, head removal, organ removal, splitting, carcass examination, and chilling. After chilling, most slaughterhouses also cut the carcasses. Meat is sold to processors, wholesalers or retailers directly. Quality butchers buy carcasses for processing themselves. All parts of the pig are used.

For a very efficient slaughter process, visit the website of Horsens slaughterhouse

Other slaughterhouses: ( is only in German) ( is also still in German)

More on cd

Picture Ham of Bayonne Picture 1-Slaughtering-cutting (fresh ham)


Processing companies, which are mostly independent, but may also be part of a slaughterhouse, prepare numerous meat products, like steaks, loins, ham, and sausages. They develop products for retailers in so-called atmospheric packs. Convenience food increasingly is part of their output.

Pork cuts

Pictures- Ham of Bayonne processing

Picture 2-Curing


Picture 4-Settling

Picture5- Drying

Picture 6- Sampling

Picture 7- Maturing

Picture 8- Stamping laburu cross


Most pork meat is sold to customers by supermarkets. Other channels are butchers, hotels, hospitals, and company restaurants. The large retailers are increasingly imposing specifications to the rest of the chain to satisfy changing customer preferences.

Picture 9- segmentation of the product "Ham of Bayonne"


Consumers are the final element of the pork chain. Their buying and consuming behavior strongly influences pork production. Animal welfare, health, environment, and safety are central issues nowadays. For example, castration is an issue that is debated much in the media nowadays. However, willingness to pay a higher price for pork meat influences the speed and level of addressing these issues.


Actors playing a role at the input site:

Feed industry

At the input side of the chain, the feed industry plays a major role. Food safety demands have led to strict procedures for tracking and tracing. Not all food ingredients, especially some imported ones, like soy, can be fully traced back to origin, however. Feed companies also give advice to companies and often are brokers for so-called pig rights (only Netherlands). Since about a decade now, the number of pigs in The Netherlands is limited to a fixed maximum. Whenever a farmer sells his business, the released pig rights will be sold to other farmers, often through these brokers. Feed companies may also play an integrating role between farrowing farms, finishers, and slaughterhouses, although this role is still limited. ( This link is of the German Association of Animal Nutrition, but it is only in German

There are also worries with respect to soy production. Soy is an important component of animal feed.


Another party providing input to the farmers are veterinarians. They take care of pig health and visit farms on a regular basis. They also perform quality audits and give advice to farmers.

Dutch professional organization of veterinarians (KNMvD)

A German association of veterinarians

Technology providers

Third parties may be so-called technology providers. They sell housing equipment and technology, like food dispensers, spraying equipment, etc. A large international player is Big Dutchman

Input of genetic material

Breeding organizations operate (partly) outside the primary chain process to support the primary production process. The support operations focus on genetic improvement and cultivation of pig species. Research is performed to improve and optimise pork production. --> a German breeding company - an international breeding organization

Other stakeholders are those parties that have a strong influence on the organization and operation of the chain, but are, of course, also influenced by parties in the primary chain process.


Government has imposed rules and regulations to safeguard pork safety after the recent crises. Rules and regulations are subject to change based on new developments in markets, organization and technology.

German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection

Dutch Ministry of Agriculture

Product Board of livestock, meat, and eggs

Technology developers

Technology developers provide new housing concepts, technology for reducing emissions or improving animal welfare. Universities and research institutes are often involved in these activities.

See for example Swine Research Farm in Raalte (Netherlands)

Research institutes and universities

Research institutes and universities are aimed at improving pork production and chain organization on the longer term by fundamental research or by applied research in collaboration with stakeholders of pork supply chains. See three examples:

Wageningen University

University of Bonn

University of Goettingen

Branch organizations

Branch organisations develop policies or act as agents for parts of the chain or for the whole chain. See four examples:

LTO Nederland

ISN Germany

ZDS Germany

GIQS Germany

Financial institutions

Financial institutes support investments by means of loans. Specific cooperative banks exist that are aimed at investing in and supporting projects in agriculture. See two examples:

Rabobank Netherlands

BVR Germany

Social pressure groups

Social pressure groups influence the speed of developing solutions to improve animal welfare and food and environmental safety. See two examples:

Wakker Dier, Netherlands (only Dutch)

Foodwatch, Germany

The pork supply chain is also supported by various actors:


Transporters transport food, sows, semen and boars, piglets, pigs, and meat between the various parties in the pork chain. Trucks may be owned by parties themselves, but may also be provided by transport companies.

On the Rennes cd, there is a transporter. There are several websites of large transporters. Maybe students may be able to find them on their own.

Traders, dealers, and distributers

Traders, dealers, and distributors may play a large role in offering products and services, including transport. Traders act as intermediate between supply and demand in some chains by offering services like information exchange. Dealers offer a range of products, like feed and fertilizers, and services, like credit or cash collection, mostly locally. Distributors link different components of the chain. They are sometimes owned by one of these components. See example:

VZ Germany (only German)

Anne, wellicht kun je hier nog uit putten?


Video: This shows the whole chain of Bayonne Ham

Video Ham of Bayonne on iPhone- iTunes: ham history, process, Quizz

VIDEO Research by ABIOC quality laboratory (for various quality analyses: ham, aanimal health...)


Food Physico-chimistry analysis

Sensory analysis

Molecular Biology

Veterinary analysis

Animal nutrition

Environmental analysis