Research & Innovation


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Ben Williams

Knowledge Transfer Senior Manager

AHDB Pork Knowledge Exchange


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T: work 024 7647 8623

Health management strategies in finishing pigs

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Research partners: Newcastle University and Thirsk VLA

Sponsors: AHDB Pork

Duration: 2007 – 2010 

Aims and objectives

To evaluate the cost-benefit of preventative management strategies designed to improve the health and productivity of finishing pigs. 

The focus was on husbandry procedures which can be adopted to reduce infectious challenge, optimise the microclimate for the pig and reduce stress. For each intervention there were specific objectives to establish:

  • The biological response of the pig to the management intervention
  • What factors are affecting the response of the pig
  • The cost-benefit of the intervention. 

Findings to date

  • Disinfection reduced bacteria levels on pen surfaces
  • Mean dust levels did not differ between systems, but differed over weeks according to ventilation rate, pig numbers and pen fouling
  • There was no significant overall effect of system on morbidity, mortality or pig performance
  • Simple cough scores showed a positive correlation with the incidence of pneumonia in live pigs and with abattoir lung scores
  • Individual pig data indicated a growth loss of 340 g/day associated with symptoms of respiratory illness and 190 g/day with enteric illness. 

Further information

Cost benefit analysis of health management strategies in finishing pigs – PhD project


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