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Selection of six pig production systems

The French standard system

In the standard system in France, fattening pigs are produced indoors on a fully slatted floor, with 0.7m2/pig (from 30 kg to slaughter). In France, the standard system represents more than 90% of pig production. Pigs are generally bred in batches and there are no particular regulations on feed, which could be bought or produced on the farm. For farrowing and during lactation, sows are confined in individual conventional crates (on a fully slatted floor). Piglets and lactating sows stay in crates until weaning (between 21 and 28 days after farrowing). Weaned piglets are kept in a post-weaning area with 0.33m/piglet. Sows are kept in groups with at least 2.25m2/sow and 1.64 m2/gilt) from 4 weeks after mating/weaning until about 10 days before farrowing.

Numbers of sows (2008) 465 392
Pigs weaned/sow/year 25.7
Litters/sow/year 2.29
Average pigs born/litter 14.0
Average live born pigs /litter 12.9
Average weaned pigs/litter 11.2
Average nursing period, days 24.5
Pre-weaning mortality (%) 13.7
Mortality (weaning-slaughter) (%) 6.0
First lactation sows (%) 17.2
Farrowing interval, days 148.2
Number of fattening pigs 7 271 869
Growth rate (weaning-slaughter), g/day 678
Average age at 30 kg 75

Average slaughtered weight, kg

Liveweight at slaughter, kg

88.3

115.4

Average age at slaughter, days 186
Feed conversion rate (kg feed/kg gain) 2.65


Table 2: Production figures from the French standard system. Source: IFIP

The Swedish standard system

The Swedish standard system is based on indoor housing of fattening pigs on a partly slatted floor. The standard system in Sweden represents more than 95% of the pig production. The pigs are bred in batches (all-in-all-out). Weaners are feed ad libitum while the feeding for fattening pigs is restricted. Antibiotics in feed and use of hormones as growth promoters are banned. Before farrowing sows are moved to farrowing pens (6 m/sow). Piglets and lactating sows stay in the farrowing pens until weaning (at least 28 days after farrowing). Weaned piglets are kept in a post-weaning pen with 0.4 m/piglet (up to 30 kg). Fattening pigs are kept in pens with 1.05 m/pig (up to 115 kg). Gestating sows are housed in groups most commonly in large pens with deep straw bedding (2.5 m/sow). All pigs are given restricted amounts of straw or other rooting material each day. Docking the tails of pigs is not allowed in Sweden.

Numbers of sows (2008) 72 121
Pigs weaned/sow/year 22.8
Litters/sow/year 2.19
Average pigs born/litter 13.5
Average live born pigs /litter 12.6
Average weaned pigs/litter 10.5
Average nursing period, days 34
Pre-weaning mortality (%) 16.7
Mortality (weaning-slaughter) (%) 2.5
First lactation sows (%) 23.0
Number of fattening pigs 289 289
Growth rate (weaning-slaughter), g/day 879
Average age at 30 kg 84
Average slaughtered weight, kg 86.7
Average age at slaughter, days 180
Feed conversion rate (MJ/kg) 35.1


Table 3: Production figures from the Swedish standard system, 2008. Source: PigWin

Alternative French system I: Fermier Label Rouge

The Fermier Label Rouge system has to respect some specifications, which make a distinction from the standard system. In the system Fermier Label Rouge, fattening pigs have to be produced on deep straw with at least 2.60m/pig or outdoors. At slaughtering, pigs are at least 182 days of age. In this system, pigs are genetically selected for high meat quality and moderate growth rate, adapted to the labialisation criteria. Producers have to use at least 25% of Duroc in terminal insemination. Feed should contain at least 75% of cereals. Antibiotics (except for isolated treatments discontinued at least 30 days before slaughtering), hormone treatments and growth promoters are banned. Piglets are normally weaned at 28 days of age. Gestating sows are kept outdoors, or more usually indoors on deep litter, until farrowing. Piglets and lactating sows are kept in pens with straw or outdoors.

Numbers of sows (2008) 2700
Pigs weaned/sow/year 24.1
Litters/sow/year 2.35
Average pigs born/litter 12
Average live born pigs /litter No info
Average weaned pigs/litter 10.5
Average nursing period, days 28 days
Pre-weaning mortality (%) 16.4
Mortality (weaning-slaughter) (%) 3 (2% weaning / 4.2% fattening)
First lactation sows (%) 17.5
Farrowing interval, days 155
Number of fattening pigs 53386
Growth rate (weaning-slaughter), gram/day

GR fattening non standardised : 722 g

GR fattening : 734

Average age at 30 kg 74

Average slaughtered weight, kg

Liveweight at slaughter,kg

88.6

115.9

Average age at slaughter, days No info
Feed conversion rate (MJ/kg)

Economical feed conversion rate : 3.29 kg feed/ kg pig product

Feed conversion rate (weaning period) : 1.94 kg/kg

Feed conversion rate (weaning period) : 3.31 kg/kg



Table 4: Production figures from the French system Fermier Label Rouge. Source: Fermier Label Rouge Chain

Alternative French system II: Porc Basque

The Porc Basque System is only used in a small location, the Basque region. Producers in this system have to use pure-breed animals, the local breed Porc Pir Noir du Pays Basque, which is genetically protected through the French Institute for Pig Production, IFIP. Porc Basque is particularly adapted to processing of cured ham (like the Bayonne ham). Pigs are slaughtered at 12 months of age with a minimum carcass weight of 100 kg (130 kg liveweight). Fattening pigs are kept outdoors in natural habitat with 250 m/pig on average. Reproductive sows are kept outdoors, or indoors in pens with straw, during gestation and lactation with their piglets. Piglets are weaned between 4 and 6 weeks of age.

Numbers of sows (2008) 332
Pigs weaned/sow/year 9.7
Litters/sow/year 1.6
Average pigs born/litter D
Average live born pigs /litter 7.75
Average weaned pigs/litter 6.04
Average nursing period, days 60
Pre-weaning mortality (%) 22.1
Mortality (weaning-slaughter) (%) 5
First lactation sows (%) 52
Farrowing interval, days 228
Number of fattening pigs 2732 entering per year (they stay 1.5 year)
Growth rate (weaning-slaughter), g/day 390 approximately
Average age at 30 kg (days) 90

Average slaughtered weight, kg

Liveweight at slaughter,kg

112.9

136

Average age at slaughter, days 415
Feed conversion rate ( kg feed/kg meat produced ) 3.93


Table 5: Production figures from the French system Proc Basque. Source: Porc Basque Chain

Alternative Swedish system I: organic production

The Swedish system for organic production is named KRAV and producers using the KRAV label, which is a registered brand; have to respect some specifications, which make a distinction from the standard system. Organic production represents 1% of the pig production in Sweden. In this system pigs are normally kept outside most of the year and they should be able to perform their natural rooting behaviour. All pigs have access to straw and the sows should be able to build a nest at farrowing. Pigs produced according to KRAV should have a certain amount of ecologically produced feed and are also treated more carefully at slaughter, for example pigs from different groups are not allowed to mix. Before farrowing, the outdoor area is equipped with a hut for each sow (minimum 7.5 m2/sow). Piglets and lactating sows have access to the huts until weaning (about 7 weeks, but in some cases it is a shorter time - from 40 days minimum after farrowing). Weaned piglets are kept in a separate area with minimum 1 m2/piglet depending on their weight. Sows are housed in groups with 2.5 m2/sow indoors and outdoors 1.9 kvm) from weaning until 7 days minimum before farrowing.

Number of litters in study (2008) 221
Average pigs born/litter 12.6
Average live born pigs /litter 11.8
Average weaned pigs/litter 10.0
Average nursing period, days 50.8

Pre-weaning mortality (%)

(of live born and cross fostered)

16.7
Number of fattening pigs 1791
86.5
Average age at slaughter, days 196


Table 6: Production figures from organic production (KRAV) in Sweden. The figures are from a study from 3 big pig producers (sows ~ 10% of KRAV production and fattening pigs ~ 30% of KRAV production). Source: Anna Wallenbeck

Alternative Swedish system II: group housing in deep litter

There are several producers in Sweden producing group-housed pigs in deep litter, but there is no specific label related to the system. At this farm the sows are kept in groups of 8 sows and in this system they also have outdoor access. All pigs have access to plenty of straw (350 kg straw/box/week). Before farrowing, the deep-litter stall is equipped with cubicles that allos the sow to leave the piglets but keeps the piglets inside for about 7-10 days. The cubicles are removed 2 weeks after farrowing and 8 litters and lactating sows are kept together in deep litter until weaning at six weeks of age. Sows are kept in groups (with 3 m/sow) from weaning until 25 days before farrowing.

Number of litters in study (2008)
Pigs weaned/sow/year 24
Litters/sow/year 2,2
Average pigs born/litter 14,0
Average live born pigs /litter 13,5
Average weaned pigs/litter 10,9
Average nursing period, days 41
Pre-weaning mortality (%) 19 %
Mortality (weaning-slaughter) (%) 2 %
% first lactation sows (%) 18 %
Average age at 30 kg 70


Table 7: Production figures from Swedish system based on group-housed sows on deep litter. Source: Anna Einemo and Gun Ragnarsson