1 Heard Health and Produktion Management, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 unknown3 Vienna (BOKU)4 University of Newcastle5 Swedish Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering (JTI)6 University of Kassel
Better knowledge of piglet losses around birth and during lactation, and the role of litter size, housing and management characteristics, should help to identify critical points and hence to improve the situation in organic pig farms. For this purpose, a project was initiated in five EU countries collecting interview data, measures of animal and housing characteristics and production records. This paper presents results regarding production characteristics from 82 herds. Among them, 42 farms were included in an analysis based on the production records. Based on sows’ housing system during the first 2 weeks after farrowing, farms were classified as “indoor” (n = 49) or “outdoor” (n = 33). For each group, a multiple correspondence analysis and subsequent hierarchical classification were carried out to identify distinct farm categories. In total, 30 variables from the questionnaires and measured characteristics were used after binary transformation when necessary. Three types of indoor farms and two types of outdoor farms were identified. Regarding litter size at birth and weaning, there was no clear difference between all types of indoor farms and one type of outdoor farms, whereas the second type of outdoor farms, that were more “extensive”, had lower performance. Production records showed a detrimental influence of high farm average litter size at birth on piglet mortality and that high-standard deviation in litter size may exacerbate this problem.