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Best sustainable practice examples on pig farms from the SusPigSys project.
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Report on “beacon systems”:
Best sustainable practice examples on pig farms
Deliverable 6.3
by Sabine Dippel, Jonathan Guy, Stefan Hörtenhuber, Carmen Hubbard, Nadja Kasperczyk,
Camilla Munsterhjelm, Kees de Roest, Antonia Ruckli & the SusPigSys Team
January 2021
This research was made possible by funding from SusAn, an ERA-Net
co-funded under European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation
programme (www.era-susan.eu), under Grant Agreement n°696231.
Content
Introduction ................................................................................................................................ 4
Farm assessment and selection ................................................................................................. 4
Overview of presented farms ...................................................................................................... 6
Breeding-to-finish farm FI009 ..................................................................................................... 9
Animal health and welfare (AHW) ......................................................................................... 10
Environment (ENV) ............................................................................................................... 10
Economy (ECO) .................................................................................................................... 11
Social and farmer wellbeing (SOC) ....................................................................................... 11
Breeding-to-finish farm UK310 ................................................................................................. 12
Animal health and welfare (AHW) ......................................................................................... 13
Environment (ENV) ............................................................................................................... 13
Economy (ECO) .................................................................................................................... 14
Social and farmer wellbeing (SOC) ....................................................................................... 14
Breeding farm DE009 ............................................................................................................... 15
Animal health and welfare (AHW) ......................................................................................... 16
Environment (ENV) ............................................................................................................... 16
Economy (ECO) .................................................................................................................... 17
Social and farmer wellbeing (SOC) ....................................................................................... 17
Finishing farm FI003 ................................................................................................................. 18
Animal health and welfare (AHW) ......................................................................................... 19
Environment (ENV) ............................................................................................................... 19
Economy (ECO) .................................................................................................................... 20
Social and farmer wellbeing (SOC) ....................................................................................... 20
The SusPigSys team
Sabine Dippel (coordinator, sabine.dippel@fli.de), Juliane Helmerichs - Friedrich-Loeffler-
Institut, Germany
Nadja Kasperczyk, Stefan Hörtenhuber - FiBL Deutschland e.V., Germany
Christine Leeb, Antonia Ruckli - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU),
Austria
Anna Valros, Mari Heinonen, Camilla Munsterhjelm - University of Helsinki, Finland
Kees de Roest, Stefano Pignedoli, Paolo Ferrari - Fondazione CRPA Studi e Ricerche, Italy
Hans Spoolder, Herman Vermeer, Gohar Nuhoff-Isakhanyan, Robert Hoste - Wageningen
University & Research, The Netherlands
Monika Gebska, Agata Malak-Rawlikowska, Aleksandra Górecka - Warsaw University of Life
Sciences, Poland
Carmen Hubbard, Gillian Butler, Jonathan Guy, Michael Wallace - Newcastle University, United
Kingdom
Introduction
Pig farmers are working in a difficult field. Prices paid for pigs are low and fluctuating. Society
has increasing expectations regarding environmental impact and animal welfare. Therefore, pig
farmers need recommendations on how to optimise all pillars of sustainability (economy,
environment, society, animal) in a balanced way. Yet, there is very little on-farm data to support
informed holistic decisions.
The ERA-Net project “Sustainable pig production systems” (SusPigSys) aimed at collecting,
summarising and disseminating evidence-based information on successful strategies for
improving sustainability across all pillars in various pig production systems across the EU.
This report presents pig farms in order to generate ideas and inspiration. The farms had good
SusPigSys sustainability analysis results in two or three pillars. No farm ranked high in all four
pillars. This represents the fact, that many aspects of sustainability may be conflicting. In order
to achieve long term viability of a farm it will be more important to have a certain level of
sustainability in all pillars rather than being the top in one or two but bottom in others.
Farm assessment and selection
Between April and November 2018 two assessors visited a total of 63 farm in seven countries:
10 each in Austria, Italy, and Poland, 9 in Germany and The Netherlands, 8 in Finland and 7 in
the United Kingdom. Out of those farms, 13 were breeding farms, 23 finishing farms and 26
breeding-to-finishing farms.
Farmers had responded to a call for participating in the project, and the farms were selected to
represent typical production systems as well as few promising new systems.
The assessors collected data on economy, environmental impact, animal health and welfare
and social sustainability with the SusPigSys data collection protocol
1
. Sustainability was then
analysed with the SusPigSys Analysis Toolbox for integrated system analysis
2
. The analysis
results are at theme level within pillar (Table 1), because further summary calculation lose
valuable information. Farms were then ranked according to the theme within pillar results, and
farms selected who were among the best 20% in at least two pillars.
Analysis details will be published in an articles which will be linked at
https://www.researchgate.net/project/SusPigSys-Sustainable-pig-production-systems-ERA-Net-
SusAn
1
DOI:10.13140/RG.2.2.17828.09605,
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348466379_Condensed_protocol_from_Era-
Net_SusAn_project_Sustainable_pig_production_systems_SusPigSys
2
DOI:10.13140/RG.2.2.35444.17288,
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348466123_EMBEDDING_SUSTAINABLE_PIG_PRODUCTIO
N_IN_AGRICULTURAL_POLICIES_A_polic_brief_based_on_experiences_from_the_SusPigSys_project
Table 1: Overview of themes and subthemes for the four sustainability pillars animal health and
welfare, environmental impact, economy and social and farmer wellbeing.
Subtheme
Animal health and welfare (AHW)
Clinical finding
Water provision
Feeding system
Roughage
Management
Pasture
Clinical findings
Creep area
Floor quality
Space allowance
Pasture
Hospitalisation
Husbandry system
Slaughter remarks
Treatments
Biosecurity
Clinical findings
Hospitalisation
Mortality
Pasture
Slaughter remarks
Treatments
Clinical findings
Hospitalisation
Mutilations
Castration
Behaviour
Clinical findings
Enrichment
Pasture
Space allowance
Restricted normal behaviour
Slaughter remarks
Negative characteristics
One welfare
Positive characteristics
Economy (ECO)
Feed Efficiency
Reproductive Efficiency
Health Management
Entrepreneurship (qualitative)
Profitability
Risk Management
Labour Productivity
Resilience of Resources (qualitative)
Environment (ENV)
Greenhouse gas emissions
Air quality
Water Withdrawl
Water Quality
Soil Quality
Land Degradation
Ecosystem Diversity
Species Diversity
Genetic Diversity
Material use
Energy use
Waste Reduction
Social and farmer wellbeing (SOC)
ST1.1 Quality of life
ST1.2 Succession
ST1.3 Capacity Building
ST1.4 Fair access to means of production
ST2.1 Responsible buyers
ST2.2 Right of suppliers
ST3.1 Employment relations
ST3.2 Child labour
ST4.1 Non-discrimination
ST4.2 Gender equality
ST4.3 Vulnerable groups
ST5.1 Safety and health training/safety at
workplace
ST6.1 (Negative) Impact on society and
environment
ST6.2 Positive contribution
Overview of presented farms
This report presents two breeding-to-finishing farms, one breeding farm and one finishing farm
from different countries. Farms and differ in several characteristics, including herd size, land
use, or other production lines on the farm (Table 2) and they have different patterns in their
sustainability scores (Figure 1).
None of the farms is certified organic. Only few organic farms had been assessed because
proportions of pig farms that are organic are very low in all participating countries. All farmers
represented highly motivated future-oriented entrepreneurship.
Table 2: Basic parameters of farms presented in this report (n pigs = mean number during
calendar year)
Farm
FI009
UK310
DE009
FI003
Country
Finland
United Kingdom
Germany
Finland
Type of farm
Breeding-to-
finishing
Breeding-to-
finishing
Breeding
Finishing
n sows
190
174
1767
0
n weaners
1374
838
2771.5
0
n growing-finishing pigs
1004
1085
0
1483
Other production lines
besides pigs contribute
to income?
pigs only
dairy cows
crops + sheep
Contract work
for other farms,
blueberries,
crops.
Production system
conventional
conventional
certified
conventional
certified
conventional
Production certification
name and type
none
QMS (Quality
Meat Scotland)
QS (food safety
standard)
none
Breed(s) present on
farm
Finnish
landrace,
Yorkshire
Large white &
Landrace x
Topics70 x
Select
Yorkshire,
Finnish landrace
From how many
sources (farms) you do
buy in pigs? [n]
2
0
0
2
Total utilised farm land
[ha]
168
809
610
444
Total land rented [ha]
22
202
480
205
Total agricultural land
[ha]
100
769
600
272
Total land used for
growing crops for pig
feed production [ha]
100
0
0
89.5
Total arable land [ha]
96
0
450
168
in top 20% AHW
yes
no
no
yes
in top 20% ENV
yes
yes
yes
yes
in top 20% SOC
no
no
yes
no
in top 20% ECO
yes
yes
yes
no
Figure 1: Values for all themes for the selected farms and theme (higher is better). Means across farms are based on 26 breeding-to-finishing
farms, 13 breeding farms, or 23 finishing farms, respectively.
Breeding-to-finish farm FI009
The Finish breeding-to-finishing farm FI009 was built in 1930. Since then, the pig barns were
renovated and extended several times, including additional buildings. It is a family farm run by a
young couple who took it over in 2004. They are still using the old buildings and installed
several innovative solutions in order to keep the pigs to current standards. The farm was among
the top 20% in the pillars animal health and welfare, environment and economy.
n sows
190
n weaners
1374
n growing-finishing pigs
1004
Other production lines besides pigs contribute to income?
pigs only
Production system
conventional
Production certification name and type
none
Breed(s) present on farm
Finnish landrace, Yorkshire
From how many sources (farms) you do buy in pigs? [n]
2
Total utilised farm land [ha]
168
Total land rented [ha]
22
Total agricultural land [ha]
100
Total land used for growing crops for pig feed production [ha]
100
Total arable land [ha]
96
Animal health and welfare (AHW)
On this breeding-finishing farm, scores for AHW parameters were generally very similar to the
mean across all farms, with the exception of Absence of hunger and thirst and Absence of
pain by management which were higher than average. This farm ranked high in AHW because
several scores were slightly above average. Pigs were provided with a lot of organic
enrichment, so that most of the pigs had access to a rack with hay/straw and the floor was
covered with sawdust. The farm also scored highly for Clinical findings, reflecting low levels of
ear, tail and shoulder lesions. These two factors contributed to the high score for Absence of
hunger and thirst. Similarly, for the sub-theme of hospitalisation, there were no pigs identified
during the visit which would have benefited from being in a hospital pen. Coupled with low
levels of ear, tail and shoulder lesions, this contributed to the high score Absence of pain by
management. Initially the farm may not appear to be a ‘model’ system, since many of the
buildings were old and were partly dirty. Yet the young couple now responsible for running this
family-run farm clearly have a high regard for AHW, and their positive attitude towards the
animals compensates to some degree for the quality of the housing system.
Environment (ENV)
The best environmental theme score was for Material & Energy with 86 from 100%, comprising
of subthemes material use, energy use and waste reduction. This is mainly due to water-
saving technologies in the barn, no irrigation of fields and a targeted application of fertilisers
with high precision technology. The amounts of fertilisers (N, K, P) are based on plant and soil
analyses. Furthermore, energy is saved by 100% of arable land without tillage. Only 8% of
inputs were discarded during the last 5 years.
In the Water theme this farm reaches to 79%. Two water-subthemes are relevant in this
context: water withdrawal and water quality. The farm uses water-saving technology in the barn,
has sufficient water supply and storage capacities and does not irrigate fields. As a result, it
reached 100% for water withdrawal. The following practices contribute to water quality (59%):
The amounts of N, K and P fertilizers are based on soil and/or plant analyses and application is
carried out with high precision technology. There was no conversion of grassland and
deforestation of woodland on the farm in the past 20 years and arable land was not ploughed.
But, chemical synthetic pesticides are applied on all arable land twice a year.
Atmosphere scored 65%. Some indicators contribute to several themes and subthemes, in this
case the preservation of grass- and woodland, all arable land without tillage as well as fertiliser
amounts based on plant and soil tests as well as a high precision application of fertilisers
contribute positively to air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. Related to the latter, the
LCA-indicator kg CO2-eq per ha scored well, even though no energy-saving technologies are
used on the farm, and the feed is not certified and thus may be related to deforestation.
Besides, 8% of the crop land is on drained moorland which reduces the emissions score.
Soil, consisting of soil quality and land degradation, reached 63%. Main factors accounting for
this were, among others, the preservation of grassland and woodland in the past 20 years, a
share of woodland (50 ha), targeted fertiliser application with high precision technology, and no
indication for land degradation by wind/water erosion or soil compaction.
The theme of Biodiversity reached 55 %. Most of the farms tended to reach lower scores in
this theme. We differentiated the subthemes ecosystem diversity, species diversity and genetic
diversity. The farm in question had no ecological focus area but it did not cultivate GMO crops
on farm or used it as feed. The share of woodland, preservation of grass- and woodland as well
as targeted fertilisation with high precision technology are the key contributors to biodiversity on
this farm. The farm did not use endangered pig breeds or cultivated rare or endangered crop
species/varieties, thus resulting in a low genetic diversity score.
Economy (ECO)
This pig farm is characterized by a high number of litters per sow and a comparatively high
weaning age of 33 days post-partum. The genetic efficiency, expressed by the numbers of
piglets born per litter, is at rather discrete levels, which explains the rather low number of
piglets weaned per sow per year (25.3). The farmer does not spend more than 59 € per sow
for veterinary and medicine costs which may indicate good health management. Probably this
is due to the high weaning age of the piglets, which makes the piglets more robust and resilient
in the subsequent phases of growing and finishing.
The gross margin over non-factor costs is high and is almost 20% higher than the average of
Finnish pig farms. This pig farm is able to reach this level of profitability not so much by
pointing at high revenues, but primarily by focusing on the reduction of operational costs.
Regarding the economic resilience of the farm, the excellent profitability is able to partially
compensate a weakness in form of the high recourse (100%) to wage labour.
Social and farmer wellbeing (SOC)
Although more difficult to quantity as compared to the other three pillars, the analysis of the
social indicators reveals some interesting insights. This farm scored higher than the average
farm in the themes Decent Livelihood, Equity (fairness) and Good Governance, whereas Fair
Trading Practices scored less. The high scores are supported by several indicators. For
example, Decent Livelihood includes quality of life, succession, capacity development and fair
access to means of production (including capital, equipment and knowledge) which scored
almost 10 percentage points higher than the mean. Succession and capacity development
(through training and education) for the farmer, his/her family members and other workers are
particularly important for this farm, with scores well above the average. These indicators reflect
the importance of having a successor but also the opportunities and resources available to
acquire skills and knowledge that will help to maintain a sustainable farm business. Farmer’s
motivation for being a pig farmer, job satisfaction, acceptable workload and good health status,
and also a manageable level of stress and very good relationships with his/her close neighbours
have also scored above the average. Interestingly, and similar to FI003 in this report, the theme
Fair Trading Practices scored lower amongst the themes but also much lower than the mean
across all farms. This indicator focuses on the extent to which the farmer perceives his/her
relationships with buyers with regards to the price received for his/per products (so to reflect the
full cost of production), market information, access to market and mutually agreed contracts. All
of these are particularly important for a business to remain sustainable. The Equity theme also
scored well above the average (79%), thus reflecting the importance that this farmer attributes
to non-discrimination policies to be applied consistently to all employees on the farm, including
support for vulnerable groups. The farmer also considered that in order to achieve a sustainable
business, good governance, i.e. the implications that a farm business may have on the
environment, the local economy and the local community, is vital. This theme has the highest
score (80%), hence demonstrating that a farm business cannot act on its own, isolated from the
rest of the community and its impacts cannot be ignored.
Breeding-to-finish farm UK310
The British breeding-to-finish farm UK310 uses advanced technical solutions for effective indoor
farming. The farmer is very interested in using state of the art building design and management
practices on the farm. The farm is located some distance away from other pig farms. It was
among the top 20% in the pillars environment and economy.
n sows
174
n weaners
838
n growing-finishing pigs
1085
Other production lines besides pigs contribute to income?
dairy cows
Production system
conventional certified
Production certification name and type
QMS (Quality Meat Scotland)
Breed(s) present on farm
Large white & Landrace x
From how many sources (farms) you do buy in pigs? [n]
0
Total utilised farm land [ha]
809
Total land rented [ha]
202
Total agricultural land [ha]
769
Total land used for growing crops for pig feed production [ha]
0
Total arable land [ha]
0
Animal health and welfare (AHW)
Although this breeding-finishing farm was not ranked among the top 20% for AHW scores for
AHW themes were markedly above average for Absence of injury & disease, Absence of pain
by management, and Good human-animal relationship. For Absence of injury & disease, the
farm had high scores for almost all sub-themes, except for clinical findings. For example, the
sub-themes mortality and treatments scored well, indicating that the farm had very low mortality
rates and use of antibiotic treatments. Biosecurity was also very high. For Absence of pain by
management, the farm is quite interesting, since it scored 100% for mutilations and castration,
indicating that the farmer does not shorten piglets’ teeth or tails and does not use nose rings for
sows. However, the sub-theme clinical findings had a very low score, reflecting a lot of pigs
with lesions. With Good human-animal relationship, the farmer scored 100% for “one
welfare”, comprising two questions: whether the farmer thinks that if his/her well-being is at risk
so is the welfare of the pigs at risk, and whether good overall farm performance is directly linked
to good sow/pig welfare. However, scores for Possibility to perform appropriate behaviour
were substantially lower than the mean across all farms, because this farm was based on a
fully-slatted system with limited opportunity to provide bedding material to allow for display of
appropriate behaviours, pigs did not have access to pasture, there was limited enrichment,
relatively low space allowance and higher levels of clinical findings (i.e. lesions to ear, tail and
shoulders).
Environment (ENV)
This breeding-to-finish farm had no arable land. 95% of the land was permanent grassland and
5% woodland. Its scored highest for Water (85%) due to water-saving technology in the barn,
sufficient water supply and storage capacities and no field irrigation (100% in subtheme water
withdrawal). Water quality scored 71% due to test-based application of N, K and P fertilizers
and additional use of high precision application technology. In the past 20 years there was no
grassland conversion or deforestation of woodland on the farm. The LCA-Indicator P2O5-eq per
kg piglet / fattening pig live-weight reached a good 85%, but twice-yearly chemical synthetic
pesticides application on all grassland reduced water quality on this farm.
Material & Energy had the second-best score of 75%. The result was mainly due to low water
withdrawal, precise application of fertilisers, the preservation of grassland and woodland in the
past 20 years as well as almost zero discarded inputs (0,5 %) during the last 5 years. The LCA-
indicator “m2 land use per kg piglet / fattening pig live-weight” reached a score of 100%.
Soil, consisting of soil quality and land degradation, scored 68%. Main influencing factors were
the preservation of grassland and woodland in the past 20 years and targeted fertiliser (N, K, P)
use. No part of the land is degraded by wind/water erosion or soil compaction, but use of
chemical synthetic pesticides on all agricultural areas caused risks for the soil.
Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and air quality are the subthemes related to Atmosphere
(56%). Main contributing indicators on this farm were: the preservation of grass- and woodland
and the precise fertiliser application based on plant and soil analyses. The farm had no
agricultural land on drained moorland (thus reduced emissions). The LCA-indicator kg CO2-eq
per kg piglet / fattening pig live-weight was good (87%). Related to air quality, the LCA-
indicator kg SO2-eq per kg piglet / fattening pig live-weight reached 94%.
Biodiversity, with the subthemes ecosystem diversity, species diversity and genetic diversity,
scored rather low on this farm (45 %). Supporting factors were no on-farm cultivation of GMO
crops, precise fertilising of N, P, K and the preservation of grassland and woodland. Decreasing
factors were the large-scale treatment with chemical synthetic pesticides twice a year and
absence of ecological focus areas. The farm did not use endangered pig breeds or cultivated
rare or endangered crop species/varieties, thus resulting in a low genetic diversity score.
Economy (ECO)
This small breeding-to-finish farm reached very good results in terms of reproductive
efficiency by weaning 33 piglets per sow. This is the result of good genetic performance
combined with a well-balanced health management: the pre-weaning mortality rate of 5.6% is
low. Thus, sow management of this farm is at high levels. The low pre-weaning mortality is
reached despite a conservative weaning age of 25 days.
The good sow management exerted its positive effect on the profitability. The gross margin
over non-factor costs per sow was € 2.030/sow, which is 22% higher than average of the UK
pig farms of the sample. Regarding growing-finishing, the farm had good results in terms of
feed conversion rate (2.5), but presumably this can be attributed to the rather low slaughter
weight of finisher pigs of UK farms. The economic resilience of this farm is further enhanced
by the labour productivity, as this farm raises 129 sows and 1 365 finisher pigs per annual
labour unit.
Social and farmer wellbeing (SOC)
This farms’ scores for Human Health and Safety and Good Governance reached the full
100%. These very high scores emphasise the paramount importance of a safe and healthy
workplace for everybody on the farm (including the farmer and his family members) to achieve
social sustainability. This is particularly important in a sector which is in general characterised
by a high suicidal rate, high numbers of accidents, strenuous physical work, exposure to
harmful substances (e.g. chemicals, pesticides and dust), work with machines, equipment and
animals. As above, Good governance was good. Labour rights (regular employment on the
farm that is fully compliant with national and international laws, labour and social security) score
was also high (79%) although a few percentage points less than the mean across all farms. To
ensure sustainability, farmers needs sufficient labour force to cover the day-to-day duties on the
farm and they have to ensure that their workers have a good understanding of their rights,
particularly in terms of wages and working conditions. This farm scored lower than the average
for the themes Decent Livelihood (55.5% as opposed to 62%) and Fair Trade Practices
(22.5% compared to 41%). For the former, the indicator that affected the score is succession.
As pointed out, succession is an essential indicator for social sustainability, hence the lack of a
successor may affect in long term the existence of the farm per se. Fair trade practices score
reflects very much the negative perception of this farmer regarding fairness of prices throughout
the supply chain and access to market information but also the low scores attributed to fairness
of prices paid for his /her products paid by buyers and the difficulty in the process of
establishing a fair contract/agreement with input (e.g. feed) suppliers.
Breeding farm DE009
This German breeding farm kept 1767 (average in 2018) which is more than the German
average. It was a former German Democratic Republic socialist co-operative farm which is now
run by Dutch owners. The farm was among the top 20% in the pillars environment, farmer /
social and economy.
n sows
1767
n weaners
2771.5
n growing-finishing pigs
0
Other production lines besides pigs contribute to income?
crops + sheep
Production system
conventional certified
Production certification name and type
QS (food safety standard)
Breed(s) present on farm
Topics70 x Select
From how many sources (farms) you do buy in pigs? [n]
0
Total utilised farm land [ha]
610
Total land rented [ha]
480
Total agricultural land [ha]
600
Total land used for growing crops for pig feed production [ha]
0
Total arable land [ha]
450
Animal health and welfare (AHW)
AHW was not the strength of this farm. It had lower than average scores for Absence of
hunger & thirst (due to lack of roughage provision) and particularly for Absence of pain by
management (again reflecting scores for clinical findings and the use of castration). Even
though the farrowing pens contained enrichment for sows and piglets Possibility to perform
appropriate behaviour also scored lower (no pasture access, space allowance drawbacks and
clinical findings indicative of ear, tail and shoulder lesions.
However, the farm clearly had some AHW merits, since scores for Absence of injuries &
disease and Good human-animal relationship were higher than average. Absence of
injuries & disease reflects relatively low levels of mortality and antibiotic treatments and good
standards of biosecurity.
At the time of visit gestating sows scored were kept in pens with electronic sow feeders (ESF)
with liquid feed. At the same time construction was on the way to improve gestation sow
housing to provide group housing with straw blown onto the lying areas which could potentially
help address welfare shortcomings.
Environment (ENV)
The highest theme value on this farm was for Water with 87%. The farm used water-saving
technology in the barn, had sufficient water supply and storage capacities and did not
irrigate fields. As a result, it reached 100% for water withdrawal. Water quality reached 74%
based on the following practices: The application of N, K and P fertilizers was based on soil
and/or plant tests, no grassland conversion or deforestation in the last 20 years, and three
quarters of arable land not being ploughed. The LCA-Indicator P2O5-eq per kg piglet / fattening
pig live-weight reached a good score.
Material & Energy scored 75%. This was mainly due to low water withdrawal, targeted
application of fertilisers, energy saving by no tillage on arable fields and almost zero discarded
inputs.
The Soil theme reached 73%. Main factors accounting for this were the preservation of
grassland and woodland in the past 20 years, targeted fertiliser application and use of chemical
pesticides on only 22% of total land. Parts of the land were degraded by wind/water erosion or
soil compaction.
The Atmosphere score of 53% also depended on the preservation of grass- and woodland,
75% arable land without tillage, as well as fertiliser amounts based on plant and soil tests, which
all contribute to air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. Related to the latter, the LCA-
indicator kg CO2-eq per kg piglet / fattening pig live-weight was good. Suboptimal aspects
were, that no energy-saving technologies were used on the farm and feed was not certified and
thus potentially related to deforestation.
Biodiversity reached 52 %. Overall, this was the theme, where most of the farms tended to
reach lower scores. We differentiated the subthemes ecosystem diversity, species diversity and
genetic diversity. This farm had 70 ha extensive pasture which counts as ecological focus area
and contributed to ecosystem and species diversity. Furthermore, there was no cultivation of
GMO-crops. The preservation of grass- and woodland as well as the restricted use of chemical
pesticides on a low proportion of land were also important contributors. The farm did not use
endangered pig breeds or cultivated rare or endangered crop species/varieties, thus resulting in
a low genetic diversity score.
Economy (ECO)
This breeding farm is characterized by weaning at 22 days which explains the higher number of
litters per sow (2.5). With this strategy the farm attained just over 31 piglets weaned per sow.
Potentially, with this high number of litters per sow and piglets born per litter, the overall result of
the number of piglets could have been even higher, however the early age at weaning pays its
toll in the pre-weaning mortality of 11%, but even more so in the sow mortality of 9.9%,
which is quite high. In terms of economic resilience, the farm is rather vulnerable, as it has
high explicit costs related to wage labour, because only 11% is family labour, and to rents for
land, as only 21% is owned by the farmer.
Social and farmer wellbeing (SOC)
As with the other two farms above, this farm scored also very high for Good Governance
(91.9%) reflecting the importance that farming is playing within the community as a whole but
also his impact on the environment and economy. The farm did also score above the mean for
Decent Livelihood, with indicators such as job satisfaction and motivation for being a pig
farmer scoring high (75% and 85%, respectively) within the theme. Labour rights score is
similar to the average, whereas Fair Trade Practices (25%) and Human Health and Safety
(62.5%) scores are below the average. As above, fairness regarding producer’s prices, input
prices and access to market information have a low score, hence reinforcing the rather
negative/pessimistic perception that farmers in general have with regards to these issues no
matter the type of farm or country. For a farm to be sustainable is vital that farmers should be
able to sell their products so to cover at least their costs of production, but also to have access
to market information (e.g. price) and to be able to negotiate fair contracts both upstream and
downstream.
Finishing farm FI003
This Finish finishing farm built a new, much bigger, piggery in 2008 and are planning future
extensions. Even though the pigs are only one of several income lines, management in the barn
was well organised. The farm was among the top 20% in the pillars animal health and welfare
and environment.
n sows
0
n weaners
0
n growing-finishing pigs
1483
Other production lines besides pigs contribute to income?
Farmer does contract work for
other farmers, e.g. harvesting.
Blueberry production. Crops.
Production system
Conventional
Production certification name and type
--
Breed(s) present on farm
Yorkshire, Finnish landrace
From how many sources (farms) you do buy in pigs? [n]
2
Total utilised farm land [ha]
444
Total land rented [ha]
205
Total agricultural land [ha]
272
Total land used for growing crops for pig feed production [ha]
89.5
Total arable land [ha]
168
Animal health and welfare (AHW)
AHW themes which scored higher than the mean for all farms were: Comfort, due to good floor
quality, space allowance and low levels of clinical findings (ear, tail and shoulder lesions) or
need for antibiotic treatments; Absence of injuries & disease, due to very low levels of
mortality, pigs needing hospitalisation or antibiotic treatments and high biosecurity; Absence of
pain by management, due to low levels of clinical findings or pigs needing hospitalisation;
Possibility to perform appropriate behaviour, scoring highly for the sub-theme enrichment
since every day pigs were given a quantity of fresh bedding comprising sawdust and straw,
which was reflected in the low levels of clinical findings; and finally Good human-animal
relationship. The only AHW score in this farm which was lower than the average was that for
Absence of hunger & thirst.
Environment (ENV)
This finishing farm had 168 ha arable land, no grassland and 172 ha woodland. In comparison
to the other 3 farms presented in this report, this farm grew crops for own pig feed production on
50% of arable land.
The themes Atmosphere (76%), Water (76%) and Material & Energy (75%) were on similar
levels.
Atmosphere subthemes Greenhouse gas emissions and air quality were good based on the
preservation and share of woodland, 100% arable land without tillage as well as mineral
fertiliser amounts based on plant/soil analyses and the application of fertilisers with high
precision technology. Furthermore, the farm used energy-saving technologies and its feed is not
related to deforestation. The LCA-indicator for GHG “kg CO2-eq per kg piglet / fattening pig
live-weight” was very good (95%).
Regarding Water, the farm had no access to communal water and insufficient water supply and
storage capacities. The fields were irrigated but water-saving technology used in the barn and
for irrigation. The farm used information about local precipitation and evaporation rate to
adapt the irrigation quantities. To water quality was improved by amounts and application of N,
K and P fertilizers being based on soil/plant tests and applied with high precision technology. In
the past 20 years there was no deforestation of woodland on the farm. Arable land (100%) was
not ploughed, but 50% of arable land was treated twice a year with chemical synthetic
pesticides, which affects water quality. The farm used techniques for reducing emissions to soil,
water and air from pig barns. The LCA-Indicator P2O5-eq per kg piglet / fattening pig live-
weightreached a good 87%.
The Material & Energy relied on low water withdrawal, precise application of mineral fertilisers,
no tillage on arable fields, non-deforestation of woodland and the use of water- and energy-
saving technologies on the farm. Discarded inputs during the last 5 years were almost only
0.5% and the LCA-indicator “m2 land use per kg piglet / fattening pig live-weight” scored 100%.
Soil reached 63% due to the preservation and share of woodland, precise fertiliser application
and the use of techniques reducing emissions to air, soil and water from the pig barn. No land is
degraded by wind/water erosion or soil compaction. The treatment with chemical synthetic
pesticides on 50% of arable land, however, bears risks for soil quality.
Biodiversity reached a score of 55 % in case of this farm. The farm had 5 ha ecological focus
area which contributed to ecosystem and species diversity. There were additional small-scale
measures, such as nesting boxes etc. which supported species diversity. The share of
woodland, precise fertiliser application, absence of GMO crops and feed not related to
deforestation were positive factors. The farm neither used endangered pig breeds nor cultivated
rare or endangered crop species/varieties, from which genetic diversity would benefit.
Economy (ECO)
This was a family farm with 1 483 finisher pigs and 444 hectares of utilised farm land, of which
46% were rented. The feed conversion rate was rather low (2.8) compared to many other
finisher farms in Europe, but also at national level (Finnish average 2.7 kg of feed needed to
produce 1 kg pf pig meat; Interpig database). The mortality rate of 0.7% had to be considered
as a good outcome of health management of this farm. Also, the economic resilience was
good, as this farm only used family labour and its labour productivity of 0.49 working hours
per finisher pig ranges among the best results of finisher pig farms. Also, the gross margin
over non-factor costs (€105/pig) exceeds the average of the sample of Finnish farms.
Social and farmer wellbeing (SOC)
This farm scored above the average for three themes, Labour Rights, Equity (fairness) and
Good Governance. The former theme scored maximum (100%) demonstrating the importance
that this farmer perceives regarding employment compliance with regulations, social security,
the employment of children but also worker rights, particularly in terms of wages and working
conditions. This also links to the high score for Equity reflecting the non-discriminatory
treatment against any employee or prospective employee based on race, religion, ethnicity,
gender, age, handicap or disability, political activity, immigration status, marital status, or sexual
orientation in hiring, job allocation, training, advancement, or firing. As with the other three farms
Good Governance is also perceived as playing an essential role in social sustainability.
Human health and safety scores similar to the average whereas Decent Livelihood score just
below the average. As above, whereas indicators such succession and capacity development
were perceived as essential (score 100), quality of life scores much less (39%) with indicators
such as demotivation to be a pig farmer, working conditions and the volume of work and level of
stress contributing to this lower score. This farm also records the lowest score (amongst the
four) for the Fair Trade Practices theme which might have contributed to the low motivation to
be a pig farmer.
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