Fruitful online IPEMA conference

Fruitful conference

On September 15th the virtual IPEMA conference on practical solutions to the issue of piglet castration took place. Around 300 people from 30 countries attended this webinar. The take home …

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No ideal anaesthesia method for castration

In an expert meeting, seven international experts from Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands concluded that so far, there is no ideal anesthesia/analgesia method for pig castration. This …

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Economics of pig farming without castration

From 2020 on, piglet castration without anaesthesia will be banned in Germany. There are different strategies that farmers can adapt in order to farm without castration. A working paper of …

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Reducing mounting behaviour of boars – tips and recommendations, WUR 2017


Date: 07-10-2014

Boars on the way

The five-year Dutch research program ‘stopping the castration of piglets’ was started in 2009. The research results have provided important directions for solutions. The scientists involved have gradually unravelled the consumer response to products from entire male pigs, which is important for the appropriate use of detection methods. We have also identified the factors that determine successful boar management on the farm. Although still some challenges remain to be solved, we are convinced that we are on the right track towards a more sustainable production and marketing of pork products. This report summarizes the knowledge gained up to the present.Further information can be found in the reports of various studies, to which reference is made in the text. We hope that sharing our knowledge with experts throughout the member states of the European Union contributes to the ambition of stopping piglet castration.

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Date: 14-12-2013

Many factors determine the success of boar farming

If male piglets are no longer to be castrated, it is important that they are cared for properly. Boars behave differently from barrows and gilts. Pig farmers who stop castrating will have to learn to deal with this. In a study conducted at 70 pig farms, researcher Dr Carola van der Peeta- Schwering of Wageningen UR Livestock Research catalogued the factors that influence boar behaviour. Van der Peet:  “Boars in a group display different behaviour than female pigs. Boars are often more boisterous, particularly when they reach the age that their hormones start to rage. A complex combination of factors has been found to influence their behaviour.”


The study catalogued a large number of factors that can positively or negatively influence successful boar farming. Van der Peet: “By modifying a number of aspects, pig farmers can influence boar behaviour. Nutrition is an important factor. Feed composition, daily rations, the number of animals in each feeding station and water provision all play a role. But accommodation, such as open pen dividers with clean floors and clean animals also affect their behaviour. Carola van der Peet: “It’s important to prevent factors that can cause stress or negative stimuli.”

Pig farmers and specialists

The researchers point out that pig farmers who make the transition to keeping boars are not alone. Many specialists visit the farm such as feed company representatives, vets or other advisors. They can use our research results to help the farmer to find out which factors can be modified to influence boar behaviour, emphasises Van der Peet. “This study confirmed that it is quite possible to successfully raise boars.”

The study was carried out by Wageningen University and Research Centre at the behest of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Dutch product board for livestock, meat and eggs.


Date: 12-11-2013

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Coming, staying and disappearing

Carola van der Peet – Schwering Castrating pigs is a subject that regularly reared its head in discussions concerning and within pig farming in recent decades. Over the 28 years …

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Non-castration picking up steam

Annechien ten Have-Mellema I recently visited Bretagne at the invitation of Cooperl. I related our experiences with boar raising at their annual meetings for their pig farming members. I was …

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