Prevention of selected diseases and parasites in organic pig herds
- by means of a HACCP based management and surveillance programme (CorePig)
The overall objective of the COREPIG project is to promote animal health and welfare in organic pig herds in Europe. The variation in pig health between organic herds is likely to be caused by different management routines in the herds. To improve animal welfare it is therefore important to investigate the relation between management and parasite/disease occurrence, and based on this, to develop a disease management tool applicable on farm.
Furthermore, the project aims to identify relevant research needs related to parasite and disease management in organic pig production. This can be applied to target future research to the actual problems experienced in commercial organic production.
Selected main outcomes of CorePig
New knowledge synthesis on organic pig production and health monitoring
The project partners have produced a knowledge synthesis reviewing the structure of organic pig production and current health monitoring systems applied throughout Europe. This includes specific chapters reviewing health and welfare problems and associated risk factors, for sows, suckling piglets, weaned piglets and fattening pigs.
Large differences in parasite prevalence and infection intensity between countries
An epidemiological survey was carried through in six countries with participation of 104 organic pig herds. This included a description of the situation across and within all countries regarding farm characteristics, housing, nutrition, hygiene, preventive veterinary procedures as well as treatments and productivity, which were found to vary significantly within and especially between countries.
The survey revealed large differences in parasite prevalence and infection intensities within and between countries, but overall, a large round worm named Ascaris suum was one of the most common intestinal worms.
Hazard analysis and critical control points
The project has produced four generic HACCP-inspired management tools. HACCP is short for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. The four HACCP tools are described below.
Farmers and advisors recognized the potential of the HACCP inspired management tool
The HACCP inspired management tools were applied in 32 farms. The main conclusions of an evaluation procedure were that the farmers and advisors recognised the potential of the HACCP inspired management tool as a surveillance and control programme. Furthermore, for the majority of farms the risk profiles had improved for the better throughout the application period.
Knowledge synthesis on animal health and welfare in organic pig production
This knowledge synthesis reviews the available information on the welfare of pigs when maintained according to organic standards in Europe (Sandra Edwards et al.).
Technical guide: Organic Pig Production in Europe - Health Management in Common Organic Pig Farming
Organic farmers in Europe have developed different housing systems for pigs based on the availability of land, soil characteristics, climate, tradition and national organic certification schemes. This guide gives an overview of the typical housing systems used for pigs in organic farming. It lists advantages and disadvantages of the different systems and provides relevant recommendations to farmers for health managment.
Hazard analysis and critical control points tools (HACCP tools)
COREPIG management tools are based on the HACCP principle (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points).
These tools help farmers to solve and prevent problems with endoparasites, reproduction and farrowing problems, weaning diarrhoea and suckling piglet mortality.
Each tool contains instructions for use and consists of three parts:
i) a questionnaire for the farmer,
ii) a check list to be used in the barn and
iii) the farm specific report.