Endemic diseases in finisher herds are considered to be costly for the pig producer. We investigated the effect of diseases on the profit margin using data from a Danish boar test station (n = 5777) collected from July 2002 to December 2004. Boars reaching a target slaughter weight of at least 80 kg were included in the study. Oral and parenteral treatments were used as indicator of disease in the finishing period and, pathological lesions were used as indicator of disease at slaughter. Profit margin was calculated individually for each boar as the difference between the total revenue and the variable costs. A multivariable hierarchical model was constructed to investigate the association between the risk factors: oral treatment (yes/no), parenteral treatment (yes/no), pathological findings (yes/no), breed (Duroc, Hampshire, Landrace, Yorkshire) and weight at 4 weeks with the outcome variable: profit margin. The results showed that treatment in the finishing period had a negative effect on the profit margin. According to the least square means estimates, boars that were treated parenterally had a reduction in the profit margin of 2.24 €. This corresponded to a reduction in the profit margin of 17%. Boars treated orally had a reduction of 0.88 €, which corresponded to a reduction in the profit margin of 7%. Pathological findings, breed and weight at 4 weeks were also significantly associated with the profit margin. The effect of pathological findings was influenced by breed and caused a reduction in the range from 0.54 to 2.41 € (corresponding to a reduction in the profit margin ranging from 4 to 20%). The results were robust to changes in price of a 30 kilogram piglet and, relatively robust in regard to changes in the feed price. However, price per kilogram carcass weight appeared to influence the economic effect of oral and parenteral treatment and pathological findings on the profit margin. The effect of oral and parenteral treatments was also sensitive to changes in medicine prices.
Livestock Science, 2008, Vol 117, Issue 1, p. 101-108