Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Integral solutions of production systems in order to improve competitiveness of Slovenian pig production

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.02.00  Biotechnical sciences  Animal production   

Code Science Field
B400  Biomedical sciences  Zootechny, animal husbandry, breeding 

Code Science Field
4.02  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Animal and Dairy science 
Pig production, competitiveness, technology, husbandry, animal health, biosecurity, economy, managem
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (19)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  28177  Tina Flisar  Animal production  Technical associate  2011 - 2014  138 
2.  21229  PhD Irena Golinar Oven  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2011 - 2014  100 
3.  14979  Damjan Jerič  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  92 
4.  11888  PhD Miran Kastelic  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  109 
5.  09755  PhD Milena Kovač  Animal production  Head  2011 - 2014  1,203 
6.  19045  PhD Špela Malovrh  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  879 
7.  17506  Marjeta Marušič    Technical associate  2011 - 2014  178 
8.  17508  Stanislava Pavlin    Technical associate  2011 - 2014 
9.  30225  Karmen Pestotnik    Technical associate  2011 - 2014  126 
10.  30760  PhD Martina Planinc  Animal production  Junior researcher  2011 - 2014  79 
11.  20082  PhD Vida Rezar  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  329 
12.  00886  PhD Janez Salobir  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  635 
13.  19156  PhD Marina Štukelj  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2011 - 2014  201 
14.  20040  PhD Ivan Toplak  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2011 - 2014  528 
15.  17514  Irena Ule    Technical associate  2011 - 2014  421 
16.  28181  Janja Urankar  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  242 
17.  07917  PhD Zdravko Valenčak  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2011 - 2014  141 
18.  27546  PhD Marjeta Žemva  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  81 
19.  29649  PhD Jaka Žgajnar  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  224 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0406  University of Ljubljana, Veterinary Faculty  Ljubljana  1627139  10,032 
2.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,024 
3.  1394  Kmetijsko gozdarska zbornica Slovenije Kmetijsko gozdarski zavod Murska sobota (Slovene)  Murska Sobota  5129940000  413 
Slovenian pig production is declining over the last years, and consequently, the self-sufficiency of pig meat is also decreasing. Number of pig farms is reduced and productivity level is diminishing, as well. It can be noticed that farmers switch from rearing piglets (reproduction) to fattening pigs, which needs less human labour, however it gives also less income. Consequence of joining EU and free market is heavily increased traffic with animals and worsening of health status in pig herds. Slovenian pig farms are small and crumbled, arable land is limited, and natural resources are not in favour of greater extent of pig production. Slovenian pig production as agricultural branch is facing globalisation which demands industrialisation, however, public opinion and environmental requirements oppose to it. Slovenian pig market is due to smallness more susceptible to oscillations. Opportunities of Slovenian pig farms are in larger and more efficient use of own resources, larger input and transfer of knowledge, increase in productivity and consequently decrease of costs, higher quality of products, and business linking for entering the market, which is considered as the weakest point. Modern knowledge and technology enable sustainable pig production, which is supported by own resources (own fodder production in reasonable extent, raising of own replacement for breeding animals), recycling of crop and livestock waste (back to arable land), farm specialisation for certain production system, biosecurity, horizontal and vertical business association, quality of inputs and safety of slaughter pigs. The project has following goals: (1) assessment of possibilities for competitiveness increase of Slovenian pig production on the level of branch as well as on the level of farm, (2) design of model solution for stalls needed on pig farm, (3) preparation of technological protocols for work tasks and check lists, (4) preparation of guideline for biosecurity measures and plan for health protection of pig farm, (5) establishment of model farms (pilot farms) where work will be organised according to new recommendations and efficiency of measures will be monitored, (6) specialisation and association of extension services, which will offer integral access to problem treatment on pig farm, and (7) establishment of channels for efficient transfer of knowledge into practice. Goals are focused to productivity improvement, fulfilment of animal needs, environment protection, sustainable production, maintenance, monitoring and improvement of health status, incontestable and safe animal products together with competitive product prices. Project will be carried out in nine work packages, where the first four packages cover narrower fields, where researchers with specific knowledge will be occupied, while for the last four packages cooperation of wider group of co-workers is planned due to integral approach to problem solving and knowledge spreading.
Significance for science
Together with the foreign institutions we were very heavily involved in the validation of molecular diagnostic kits to improving the diagnosis of PRRS virus. Significant progress was made in identifying, monitoring and typing of newly identified strains of PRRS, which occur in Slovenia and the results were compared with the published data from Europe. Genetic typing of more than 300 positive samples of PRRS virus (region ORF7) from about 150 infected pig herds was done. The general observation was that many of the newly identified PRRS viruses were the results of the uncontrolled imports of pigs from abroad, as well as a result of intensive spreading of infection between pig herds within Slovenia. With the help of partners from Denmark we also isolated for the first time PRRS virus on pulmonary alveolar macrophages (PAM) from field samples while together with partners from Hungary first genotyping of some important PRRS strains from Slovenia in the region of ORF5 of the viral genome was done.
Significance for the country
In the majority of Slovenian pig farms, farmers accept novelties very cautiously and slowly. The project has included 16 pilot farms, which differed by the production and health status. Because of gradual adaptations barns were differently arranged, often in order to maximize the available surface area, individual categories were housed together. Improvements of housing and breeding tasks were suggested to breeders according to their abilities. On farms, where the proposed changes have been accepted and introduced, productivity increased. As consequences of batch farrowing, groups of weaners and fattteners were larger, breeding tasks were carried out easier due to predictable schedule of some tasks in a cycle of 3 or 5 weeks, and also more accurate predictions of breeding values for animals. Production rhythm is suitable for smaller herds too. In herd of 20 sows with 5-week production rhythm applied, five sows farrow at the same time and therefore at least 50 piglets are weaned together. For small herds also cooperation among farms can be applied where business partners take care for specific stages of production. The greatest issue at all pilot farms represented the PRRS. Depending the herd size primarily depopulation was proposed as the most effective method of PRRS eradication, but among the pilot farms were also nucleuses, where the depopulation was not an option. The results of project confirmed that PRRS virus can be eliminated or eradicated even with other methods. Implementation of external and internal biosecurity measures, separation of age categories of pigs and enhanced care (hygiene, feeding) can hold the negative effects of PRRS and some other diseases (eg. PCVD) at a manageable state or even completely eradicate diseases. Pilot farms were good model for verification of new technologies in our conditions and for transfer of knowledge into practice. However, visits of other farmers to be acquainted with new management it is very limited due to biosecurity measures. It would be necessary to establish a demonstration center with a herd of 300 sows with farrowing to fattening system, where the farmers could learn about novelties in technology under the expert guidance and implement them on their farms. Findings and skills revealed by the project are also integrated in the teaching process. The easiest way to introduce technological novelties at pilot farms is by a joint work of veterinary and animal husbandry experts. The joint approach should be upgraded by establishing a special group for pig breeding, consisting of experts from various fields (eg. pig breeding, nutrition, housing, veterinary) The manuals with easily understood instructions and control points were prepared. Comparison of the results with the breeding standards enables pig breeders to assess production for their farms. For practice, we have also developed tools to help management decision-making. Recently, pig breeding has obtained considerable negative connotation among citizens as well as among farmers. The reasons can be found in a poor business organization and the lack of novelties introduction. An important activity could be the promotion of pig industry and to inform the society with the measures to improve the welfare of pigs and environment protection. Breeders are often faced with the administrative hurdles in obtaining building permit for implementation new technologies on the farm.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report
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