Weaner production with low antimicrobial usage: a descriptive study

Mette Ely Fertner, Anette Boklund, Nana Hee Dupont, Claes Enøe, Helle Stege, Nils Toft

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    Background: Health, productivity and antimicrobial use in the production of pigs are expected to be interrelated to some extent. Previous studies on register-based data have investigated these correlations with a subsequent large variation residing at the farm level. In order to study such farm factors in more detail we designed an elaborate interview-guide. By in-depth interviews of farmers with well-managed 7-30 kg (weaner) productions we sought to describe a set of common key-factors characterizing their management practices. Identification of such common practices could be used in follow-up projects, investigating whether identified factors really are characteristic for good-practicing famers.Results: Eleven farms were selected for a farm visit and in-depth interview. Participating farms used less antimicrobials than the national median (8.2 animal daily doses/100 weaners/day), had a mortality below the national average (2.9%) and an average daily weight gain above the national average (443 g/day). Similarities were observed among participating farms, including the sectioning of farms, use of all-in-all-out procedures with subsequent cleaning, purchasing 7 kg weaners from only one source, as well as active participation in management by a committed farm owner. Most farmers had a specific point of focus in their management, and were convinced that this was the reason for their success. This included; feeding, treatment strategy, refurbishment of facilities and presence in the shed.Conclusion: According to register data, participating farms were alike; in the good league regarding use of antimicrobials, mortality and daily growth. However, on-farm interviews elucidated more heterogeneity among farmers than expected. Most of the farmers had a specific point of focus, which they considered to be crucial for their good results. These results indicate the importance of non-registerable factors, highlighting the value of qualitative study techniques in the understanding of human actions. Further studies on the effect of various farmer types are recommended.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number38
    JournalActa Veterinaria Scandinavica (Online)
    Issue number1
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Swine
    • Pig
    • Antibiotic use
    • Management
    • Helath
    • pig

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