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Effect of breed type, housing and feeding system on performance of growing pigs managed under organic conditions

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Sandra Edwards


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BACKGROUND: There is a need for information on the performance and carcass quality of pigs under different organic management systems. This study compared Duroc-sired progeny from three maternal breed types when kept either at pasture or in housing with an outdoor run and offered ad libitum concentrate either alone or with fodder beet or grass/clover silage as additional forage. RESULTS: Liveweight gain, feed intake and the proportion of forages consumed did not differ between genotypes. Carcass fatness of progeny was lowest for a 'modern' genotype (Camborough 12) and highest for a 'traditional' purebred genotype (Saddleback), with a 'crossbred traditional' genotype (Saddleback x Duroc) being intermediate (11.4, 14.3 and 13.4 mm P2 respectively, standard error of mean (SEM) 0.27, P < 0.001). With a cereal-based concentrate available ad libitum, intake of forages was low (<2% of dry matter intake). Although growth rate did not differ between housing systems, daily feed intake was greater at pasture (2.47 vs 2.22 kg meal equivalent, SEM 0.05, P < 0.001), giving poorer feed efficiency (P < 0.01). Pastured animals consumed less additional forage and had a higher killing-out % but similar carcass fatness. CONCLUSION: For organic pig production to be financially sustainable, disadvantages arising from the genotype and/or rearing system chosen need to be offset by a market premium for the pigs produced. © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kelly HRC, Browning HM, Day JEL, Martin A, Pearce GP, Stopes C, Edwards SA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture

Year: 2007

Volume: 87

Issue: 15

Pages: 2794-2800

Print publication date: 01/12/2007

ISSN (print): 0022-5142

ISSN (electronic): 1097-0010

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.3060


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