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June 12 and 13, 2013: Scientific Workshop on Organic Pig Production in Denmark

On June 12th and 13th 2013 a scientific workshop on organic pig production will take place in Hovborg in Denmark. The newest results from five research projects will be presented at the workshop.

Hovborg, Denmark

The workshop will focus on  three main themes:

  • Production of entire male pigs
  • Outdoor production of growing-finishing pigs, provision of roughage
  • Environmental impact and animal welfare

The main workshop is held on June 12th, but it is also possible to participate in a farm visit the following morning, June 13th. The farm visit is followed by a seminar aimed at Danish producers of organic pigs. You are welcome to participate in this seminar as well, it will, however, be conducted in Danish.
Accommodation can be provided, see prices and preliminary programme below. The workshop venue is close to Billund Airport if travelling by air.

The five projects presented at the scientific workshop on June 12th are:

  • NOCAST: This project aims at developing a management concept for future organic pig production without castration, with a documented low level of entire male pigs with a high level of skatol and androstenone in back fat and therefore a minimum risk of boar taint. The risk of boar taint can be reduced by feeding the right feeds in the right combination. NOCAST is an Organic RDD project.
  • PAROL: Parasites in livestock cause poor animal welfare, production losses, disease, and non-uniform products. The PAROL project focuses on reducing the transmission of hard-shelled eggs to growing pigs by investigating: Long-term survival of eggs on pastures, inactivation of eggs in bedding material and a novel approach in bio-inactivation of eggs (chitin-degrading microfungi). PAROL is an Organic RDD project.
  • SUMMER: The project aims at increasing the taste and the ethical and physical quality of organic meat (pork, poultry and young beef), through an integrated research and development effort along the food chain (primary production, product development and marketing). The project focuses on presentation and meat appearance, new cuts, taste and technological qualities of the end products, including consumer preferences. SUMMER is an Organic RDD project.
  • ICOPP: The aim of ICOPP is to produce economically profitable feeding strategies usingingredients produced organically and sourced within Europe rather than relying on protein imports and feed supplements of non-organic origin. ICOPP is a CORE Organic II project
  • PROPIG: The focus is on strategies to reduce environmental impact by improving health and welfare of organic pigs. The project includes data recording on organic pig farms, calculations of nutrient balances and Life Cycle Assessment for several contrasting scenarios and the development and evaluation of farm specific improvement strategies. PROPIG is a CORE Organic II project.

Preliminary Programme:

June 12th 2013:

09.00-09.30: Coffee, bread, and welcome
09.30-10.00: Sandra Edwards (UK): Future challenges in organic pig production
10.00-11.30: Theme 1: Production of entire male pigs
The aim of organic pig production is to ensure high animal welfare and natural products. Banning castration is thus a logical step forward, but the risk of boar taint in the meat is a major barrier for marketing meat from entire male pigs. Is it possible to use genetic tools and breeding strategies to prevent boar taint? What is the effect of feeding, management, housing and hygiene? Is it possible to process the meat to minimize the risk of boar taint? These issues will be discussed based on the results from the research project NOCAST, as well as other on-going Danish research projects on entire male pigs.
10.00-10.25: Anders Strathe (DK): Prevention of boar taint by means of genetics and breeding
10.25-11.05: Hanne Maribo (DK), Bent Borg (DK) and Rikke Thomsen (DK): Reduction of boar taint – the practical way.        
11.05-11.30: Susanne Støier (DK): Boar taint – analysis, sorting methods, product quality and consumer response.    
11.30-11.40:     Break

11.40-12.40: Theme 2: Outdoor production of growing-finishing pigs, provision of roughage
Use of roughage and outdoor production are two very important characteristics in organic livestock production. How does the use of roughage affect health and performance in growing-finishing pigs? Is it possible to encourage outdoor pigs to find a large part of their food directly in the field where they are kept, and how does this influence pig performance and meat quality? These issues will be discussed on the basis of results from two major research projects, SUMMER and ICOPP.
11.40-12.10: Liisa Voutila (FI): Effect of roughage on pig health and performance
12.10-12.40: Anne Grete Kongsted (DK) and Margrethe Therkildsen (DK): Outdoor growing-finishing pigs: effect of genotype and feeding strategy on animal behaviour, performance and meat quality
12.40-13.40: Lunch
13.40-14.40: Theme 3: Environmental impact and animal welfare
Robust and competitive organic pig production must minimise environmental impact as well as ensuring good animal health and welfare. In theory, improving animal health and welfare reduces environmental impacts through decreased medicine use, improved growth rates and feed conversion efficiency. Is it possible to verify these hypotheses on working farms?  The relationship between animal health, welfare and environmental impact will be discussed based on the results from the Core organic II research project ProPig including data collection on these aspects on 75 organic pig farms across Europe. More specifically, it will also be discussed how management practices may affect parasite transmission and thus animal welfare within organic systems (PAROL and NOCAST projects).
13.40-14.10: Christine Leeb (AU): Assessment of animal welfare and environmental impact.
14.10-14.40: Helena Mejer (DK): Parasite impact, transmission and control
14.40-14.50: John Hermansen (DK): Introduction to group discussions
14.50-15.00: Coffee Break
15-16.00: Group discussions
16.00-16.30: Plenum discussion, chaired by John Hermansen
16.30-16.45: Closing remarks
Evening:  Dinner, social get-together

June 13th 2013:
8.45-10.30    Farm visit (Bus transportation from Hovborg Kro provided)

More information


  • Venue: Hovborg Kro, Holmeåvej 2, 6682 Hovborg, Denmark
  • Participation in the workshop:
    Please register at: https://auws.au.dk/workshop_oekologisk_svineproduktion
    Registration deadline: 15. May 2013
    Questions? Please contact Marianne Bonde, Center of Development for Outdoor Livestock Production Phone. +45 89 19 27 58, email bond@friland.dk.


  • Scientific Workshop June 12th (excl. dinner & accommodation): 355 DKK
  • Scientific Workshop June 12th and farm visit June 13th (incl. dinner & accommodation): 1175 DKK
  • Participation both June 12th and 13th, full programmes, (excl. dinner & accommodation): 710 DKK
  • Participation both June 12th and 13th, full programmes including accommodation: 1495 DKK
  • Additional accommodation: June 11th and/or June 13th : 600 DKK per night (single room), incl. breakfast

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