Updated 3. April 2023

Research results

The research activities of Danish Agriculture and Food Council Pig Research Centre cover a wide range of areas and topics and animal categories.

Danish Agriculture and Food Council Pig Research Centre investigates different aspects of nutrition, housing systems, environment and health-related issues all concerning the live pig and the impact of pig production on the environment.

The results of these trials and investigations are published in the form of trial reports, and some of these are available in English.

Some of the reports are available in their entirety, while for others only the abstract has been translated. The reports available in English are listed according to which group of animals the trial in question concerns.

Trial report 1203: Low-protein feed for weaned pigs reduces diarrhoea outbreaks

Low-protein feed is an efficient intervention against diarrhoea when medicinal zinc is no longer allowed in pig feed. However, too little protein has a negative impact on gain, feed conversion and production value.

Report 2112: The kmc potato protein concentrate as a separate feed product in the seges feedstuffs database

The KMC Potato Protein Concentrate will be set up in the SEGES Feedstuffs Database as a separate feed product, with its own data sheet and specification of the solanine content as not exceeding 1,520 ppm.

Trial report 1175: Low protein for weaned pigs can reduce diarrhoea

This trial demonstrated that two of four protein strategies reduced the number of diarrhoea treatments among weaned pigs.

Report 1905: Weaning without zinc oxide - field experiences

Hygiene, water and feed intake post-weaning, protein level in weaning feed and experienced staff were identified as key factors in weaning pigs without the use of in-feed zinc oxide on 12 farms.

Trial report 1148: OVN vitamin concept from DSM improves production in feed for piglets

The high vitamin levels recommended by DSM led to improved productivity and higher production value compared to the official Danish vitamin standards.

Trial report 1147: Test of feeding concepts as an alternative to zinc oxide for weaned pigs 

One concept improved productivity and lowered diarrhoea outbreaks compared with feed including zinc oxide. One concept was level with feed including zinc oxide, and two were level with feed without zinc.

Trial report 1101: Alternatives to medicinal zinc in feed for weaned pigs

The effect of adding 2,500 mg zinc per kg feed 14 d post-weaning did not differ from 1,500 mg zinc, but did improve performance and lowered diarrhoea treatments compared with 0 mg zinc or OceanFeed, MiyaGold and GærPlus in pigs 7-30 kg.

Trial report no. 1065: 0.5% benzoic acid can replace copper in feed for weaned pigs

The addition of 0.5% benzoic acid results in the same production value as 1% benzoic acid in combination with 20 ppm copper in feed for weaned pigs. Both levels of benzoic acid result in the same production value as feed containing 150 ppm copper.

Trial report no. 1057: Benzoic acid as replacement for copper in feed for weaned pigs

A low content of copper in feed for weaned pigs lowers performance, but this is offset by the addition of 1% benzoic acid.

Trial report 971: Butirex VFA C4 improves weaner productivity

Butirex VFA C4, which is a butyric acid product, improves productivity in weaners. Once the costs of adding the product are covered, production value was positively affected when 0.3 % Butirex VFA C4 was added to weaner feed.

Trial report 952:Fine grinding and BS3 Xylanase improve productivity

Daily gain and FCR improved when weaners were fed a finely ground diet compared with a coarsely ground diet. The addition of BS3 Xylanase also improved gain and FCR.

Trial report 949: Rapeseed cake for weaners - variety and processing

Weaner productivity was not adversely affected by the addition of 8% conventional rapeseed cake to a starter diet and 15% to a weaner diet. Enlargement of thyroid gland and liver was observed when pigs were fed rapeseed.

Trial report no. 942: Fermented rapeseed for weaners

Production value dropped by 7-9% in weaners (9-30 kg) fed fermented rapeseed compared with soybean meal and rapeseed cake. Trial results revealed poorer FCR and lower gain, and no effect on health.

Trial report 911: Origina in weaner feed

The addition of Origina to weaner feed had no effect on weaner productivity

Trial report 893: Tube feeders for weaners

A product trial of five brands of tube feeders for weaners revealed no differences in production value based on weaners’ FCR and daily gain.

Trial report 890: Weaner feed with 15% rapeseed cake or rapeseed meal

Health and productivity did not differ among weaners (11-30 kg) fed soy protein, 15% rapeseed cake. Productivity tended to drop with 15% German or Polish rapeseed meal.

Trial report 870: Chicory for weaners

The addition of 15% chicory or 7.5% chicory + 0.5% benzoic acid increased weaner productivity compared with feed with and without 7.5% chicory. No effect was found on health. With the current chicory prices, this is not profitable. 

Trial report 846: Daka Porcine Plasma and zinc for weaners

Daka Porcine Plasma had the same effect on weaner productivity as zinc. The effect of using blood plasma and zinc was additive and increased production value by 9%.

Trial report 818: Commercial weaner diets purchased in South-East Jutland winter 2007-2008

Commercial weaner diets from 5 companies purchased in South-East Jutland in the winter 2007/08 were studied. An 18% increase in production was obtained with the diets from Danish Agro compared with control.

Trial report 803: Formi and formic acid for weaners

0.6% Formi and 0.6% formic acid to weaner feed tended to improve PV by 5% compared with control.

Trial report 796: Soybean meal for weaners

PV dropped when inclusion of soybean meal increased. Up to 35% was gained on the bottom line by using 26-27% soybean meal in weaner feed as the feed price dropped as soybean meal inclusion increased.

Trial report 789: EggsTend 88 in weaner feed

The inclusion of EggsTend 88 to weaner feed did not affect productivity. 2,500 ppm zinc in the feed the first 14 d post-weaning significantly reduced diarrhoea and improved productivity.

Trial report 787: Commercial weaner diets purchased on Zealand in the winter 2006-2007

Weaner diets were purchased from 5 different companies in the winter 2006/07. The trial revealed that the diets from ØA improved production value signigificantly compared with control as well as the other diets.

Trial report 778: Effect of zinc and organic acids on diarrhoea in the weaner period

Diarrhoea treatments dropped significantly when organic acids were added to weaner feed. Mortality also dropped significantly when acid and zinc were added to the feed.

Trial report 772:Aviprox and Aviplus in feed for weaners

The addition of Aviprox and Aviplus til weaner feed increased the production value significantly. The increase in PV was largely outweighed by increased costs for adding the products.

Trial report 769: Test of weaner diets

Simple low-energy diets reduced productivity by 13%, but improved production economy by 18%. An alternative diet without fishmeal, but with coconut oil and dried whey reduced productivity by 7% and improved bottom line results by 7%.

Trial report 743: Wheat protein C*HYPROW for weaners

C*HYPROW, hydrolysed wheat protein, in combination with potato protein concentrate may be a realistic alternative to fish meal and soy protein if the price is competitive and amino acid standards are met.

Trial report 728: Fermented grain for weaners

Weaner productivity in the period 0-8 wks post-weaning increased by 6% when the pigs were fed 100% fermented grain in gruel feed the first 3 wks post-weaning followed by pelleted dry feed.

Trial report no. 490: Benzoic acid or the combination of lactic acid and formic acid

Overall the test showed that the pigs given feed containing benzoic acid had a significantly higher production value than the control pigs and the pigs given feed containing the combination of lactic acid and formic acid. Furthermore, the group with the combination of formic and lactic acid had a significantly higher production value than the control pigs. 

Trial report 1234: Economic aspects of producing castrates, male pigs and immunocastrates

Production costs per kg carcass for male pigs and immunocastrates are DKK 0.61 (0.08 €) and DKK 0.11 (0.014 €) lower compared with castrates. In the current economic climate, this balances rejection rates of 14% for male pigs and of 2% for immunocastrates to reach break-even compared with castrates. 

Trial report 1231: Castrates, male pigs and immunocastrates – behaviour & penile injuries

Male pigs and immunocastrates behaved more aggressively than castrates until the second vaccination, hereafter the immunocastrates behaved more like castrates. Recordings showed very low and no differences in penile injuries between male pigs and immunocastrates or in the prevalence of gastric ulcers between castrates, male pigs and immunocastrates.

Trial report 1219: Productivity and boar taint in castrates, male pigs and immunocastrates

Feed conversion and lean meat percentage of immunocastrates ranked between male pigs and castrates, with no differences in daily gain between the three groups. Immunocastration reduced skatole and androstenone to very low level, but did not completely eliminate boar taint in all immunocastrates.

Trial Report 1202: Xylanase in different doses and of different origen in finisher feed

Neither Ronozyme WX in standard or double doses nor Danisco Xylanase in standard dose significantly affected finishers’ production value in this trial. The incorporation of xylanase in finisher feed generated a tendency to a lower feed conversion and a lower lean meat percentage.

Trial Report 1163: Duroc and pietrain crosses: Boar taint and dressing loss

Skatole levels in fat were lower in DLY crosses compared with PLY crosses, whereas PLY had the lowest androstenone level. Dressing loss was highest among DLY crosses, regardless of whether the pigs were fed liquid feed or dry feed.

Trial report 1156: Benzoic acid inhibits the degradation of free amino acids in liquid feed

The addition of 0.5% or 1% benzoic acid to dry feed inhibited the degradation of free amino acids in liquid feed. Benzoic acid also seemed to inhibit growth of yeast as well as the production of lactic acid during fermentation.

Trial report 1154: Danbred Duroc crossbred finishers grow faster than Pietrain crossbreds

Daily gain was 142 g higher and lean meat % in carcasses 2.0% lower in DanBred Duroc offspring compared with Pietrain offspring. Daily gain in the 7-30 kg period was 21 g higher in DanBred Duroc pigs.

Trial report 1138: Less boar taint in offspring of DanBred Duroc boars with low androstenone levels

Androstenone levels and sensory reactions to boar taint can be reduced when DanBred Duroc boars with low androstenone levels are used for production of intact males.

Trial report 1102: Androstenone in intact males increases as live weight increases

Androstenone in back fat in intact males increase with live weight. Research reveals correlations between androstenone levels recorded in the individual pig at 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110 and 120 kg live weight and in the carcass at slaughter.

Trial report 996: Screening of entire males

Screenings of entire males from 9 herds showed a rejection rate of 2.3% when based on skatole increasing to 11% when based on human nose score. 37% had an androstenone level above 1.0 ppm.

Trial report no. 984: Economy in production of entire males

The largest profit from production of entire males vs castrates was found when the pigs were fed dry feed ad lib. FCR improved by 0.24 and 0.14 FUgp/kg, lean meat % by 1.3 and 1.2 percentage points, but only a small effect was seen on daily gain.

Trial report 960: No effect on finisher productvity of Econase XT

The addition of Econase XT to finisher feed with either wheat or rye as primary grain ingredient did not improve FCR.

Trial report 955: Screening of organic entire males

Rejection rates due to boar taint are high among organic entire males and vary greatly between herds. Research showed that if rejection was based on skatole, 18% were rejected, and if also based on “Human nose” 26% were rejected.

Trial report 931: CLA improves lean meat percentage

Lean meat percentage increased when CLA was added to finisher feed, but FCR did not improve. CLA is currently too expensive to add to finisher feed.

Trial report 877: Effect of Fresta® F Plus on ammonia emissions 

The addition of Fresta®F Plus to finisher feed did not significantly reduce ammonia emissions, and no differences were found on pH in slurry.

Trial report 876: Effect of 15% dried chicory root in feed for male pigs

15% chicory from 2 wks pre-slaughter reduced skatole in intestines and fat tissue, boar taint in fat tissue and meat, and boar flavour in meat, but did not affect androstenone and boar flavour in fat. Chicory alone cannot eliminate boar taint.

Trial report 875: Difference in heat stability of phytase and xylanase products

All tested phytase and xylanase products had a high heat stability with the exception of Porzyme 9302.

Trial report 828:CLA for finishers from approx. 4 wks before slaughter

Finishers given 0.5% Lutalin had a 12% higher PV than the control pigs. The greatest effect was seen among castrates that had a higher lean meat % and FCR. Fat quality improved as iodine number increased by 7 units.

Trial report 826: Bergazym P in feed mixed on-farm

When added to finisher feed mixed on-farm, the xylanase product Bergazym P did not improve the production value compared with the control group.

Trial report 817: Housing finishers according to their gender and ad lib feeding from tube feeders +/- water supply

With tuber feeders and pelleted feed, a small positive effect on lean meat % was achieved for both genders by shutting off the water in the feeders at 60 kg.

Trial report 813: Risk factors for poor feed conversion ratios in finishers

Several factors increase the risk of poor FCR on finisher farms; grower facility, respiratory disorders, continuous management, liquid feed, feed mixed on-farm or many unthriving pigs.

Trial report 780: Vitamin D3 sources

25-hydroxy vitamin D3 as an alternative to the traditional vitamin D3 source

Trial report 664:Meal feed and pelleted feed for finishers

The production value of finishers fed via tube feeders was better with pelleted feed than with home-mixed feed and purchased meal feed. The difference was smaller than previously seen with dry feeders without water.

Trial report 659: Supply of lysine and threonine to finishers

The standard of 7.4 g st.dig. lysine per FUgp is maintained, while the standard for threonine is increased to 4.9 g st.dig. threonine per FUgp. The trial comprised 5,580 finishers.

Trial report no. 471: 3-phase feeding of finishers with differentiated phosphorus standard

The results showed that for all herds in general there was no significant difference in the produc-tion value between the control group and the phase feeding group when average prices of 5 years were used. However, phase feeding resulted in a significant decrease in the lean meat percentage of 0.4 percentage units. 

Trial report 382: Sangrovit and Salocin in feed for growing-finishing pigs

The results showed that for all herds in general there was no significant difference in the produc-tion value between the control group and the phase feeding group when average prices of 5 years were used. However, phase feeding resulted in a significant decrease in the lean meat percentage of 0.4 percentage units. 

Trial report 341: Commercial products in feed for finishers

Test of Salocin, Sangrovit, ToyoCerin and Acid Lac for finishers.

Report 1236: Analysis of productivity in selected Danbred herds - 2020

Analysis of DanBred herds in Denmark revealed high productivity in all categories. The top 5 sow farms achieved 40.9 pigs weaned/sow/year.

Report 1803: Test of 10 different farrowing pens for loose-housed sows

None of the ten pens tested scored ‘good’ or ‘very good’ in all parameters, and results confirm that further development and testing is necessary to produce a robust farrowing pen for loose-housed sows.

Trial report no. 1062: Hy-D in sow feed increases litter weight at weaning by 3.6 kg

The addition of Hy-D to sow feed increased the number of pigs weaned and litter weight at weaning. It also doubled the vitamin D¬3 content in the blood of the sows in the trial.

Trial report 900: Organic micro minerals in sow feed

Replacing inorganic with organically bound micro minerals showed no biological effects in sows when their need for micro minerals is covered via their feed.

Trial report 825: Additional iron in feed for lactating sows

The addition of more than 80 mg iron per feed unit to lactation feed does not affect the haemoglobin level in sows.

Trial report 821: Extra amino acids for gestating sows

The current standards for protein and amino acids for gestating sows fully cover the animals' requirements when the sows are moved to the farrowing facility 5 days before expected farrowing.

Trial report 810: Reduced phosphorus discharge from sow facilities

The phosphorus requirement of sows is met when they are fed lactation feed with 7.5 g Ca and 2.6 g dig. P/FUsow and gestation feed with 6.4 g Ca and 2.0 g dig. P/FUsow. The amount of P discharged with these diets will be eliminated by the plants.

Trial report 785: Phase feeding of lactating sows

The production results were the same when phase-feeding lactating sows with two diets as when using only one diet.

Trial report 757: Effect of extra fibre and feed texture on gastric health in sows

Gastric health in sows improved when fibre content increased in gestation diets as well as lactation diets. Increasing the texture of gestation feed by adding rolled oats had no effect on gastric health.

Trial report 741: Feeding gilts in the growth period

Backfat of LY gilts increases when protein drops and energy supply increases in the weight interval 100-140 kg. A backfat thickness of 12-18 mm at service does not affect production results or longevity of the gilts.

Trial report 736: Ensuring colostrum to the smallest piglets

The large piglets in a litter can be moved from the sow 6 hrs post-partum without adversely affecting their survival. Moving the largest piglets from a litter did not improve survival rates of the smallest piglets.

Trial report 969: Fertility higher with pooled Duroc semen than with semen from one boar

Litter size increased by 0.3 piglets when sows were inseminated with semen doses containing sperm from several boars than from just one boar.

Trial report 918: Effect on fertility of sperm motility in pooled Duroc semen

Semen doses with pooled semen from three Duroc boars, all with good sperm motility, had the same fertilizing capacity as doses with pooled semen from three boars with poor sperm motility and from three boars with good sperm motility.

Trial report 809: Semen quality of Duroc boars

On one DanBred AI station, the semen quality of Duroc boars was investigated. The study included measurement of the number of progressively motile sperm cells three days after production, the number of live sperm cells three days after production and the number of defect sperm cells. This study forms the basis of a trial concerning the effect of semen of reduced quality mixed with high-quality semen.

Abstracts from international papers

Report no. 1603: Test of supplementary air inlets in a farrowing house

Tests made in a farrowing house during the summer reveal that supplementary air inlets improve sows’ immediate environment.

ASABE International Symposium on Air Quality and Mnure Management for Agriculture

Proceedings from ASABE International Symposium on Air Quality and Mnure Management for Agriculture, September 2010, Dallas Tx.

Trial report 1513: Operating costs of chemical air cleaner from Munters A/S in a finisher unit

Test shows that the chemical air cleaner MAC 2.0 used 18.2 kWh electricity; 2.1 kg acid; and 164 L water per finished pig when operating at full cleaning capacity in a finisher unit.

Perstrup pig house with partial under-floor air evacuation and in-house separation of faeces and urine

This paper deals with a newly developed Perstrup pig house with partial under-floor air evacuation and in-house separation of faeces and urine.

Report number 0801

Ozone treatment of slurry from finishers in climate chambers.

Removal of odour and ammonia in ventilation air from growing-finishing pig units using vertical biofilters

The measured odour removal efficiency averaged 60 %. In contrast, the biofilters did not reduce the ammonia concentration (ppm) significantly in the outlet air.

New Standards for Odour Emissions from Pig Facilities in Denmark

The aim of this study was to determine the average odour emission from the most common pig facilities in Denmark during the summer in order to find new standards for odour emissions.

Memo no. 2301: A decade of declining sales of antimicrobials for animals in europe

Antimicrobials for the treatment of livestock in 25 EU/EEA countries decreased by 46.5% from 161 mg/PCU in 2011 to 86 mg/PCU in 2021. By 2021, one third of the European Commission reduction target was reached. The target is 59 mg/PCU for 2030, corresponding to a 50% decline from 2018. In Denmark, antimicrobial sales declined to 33 mg/PCU in 2021 and consumption of the critically important antimicrobials for livestock has been close to zero for several years. 


Trial report no. 986: Correlation between gastric changes and lung disorders in finishers

Analyses made at slaughter revealed a significant correlation between chronic adhesive pleurisy and gastric ulcers in finishers. No correlation was found between gastric changes and PCV2 infection.

A Biotrickling Filter for Removing Ammonia and Odour in Ventilation Air from a Unit with Growing-Finishing Pigs

The present study was carried out to investigate the ammonia and odour removal with a commercial biotrickling filter (SKOV A/S, Glyngøre, Denmark) in a unit with growing-finishing pigs.

1000 Olfactometry Analyses and 100 TD-GC/MS Analyses to Evaluate Methods for Reducing Odour from Finishing Units in Denmark

Odour from pig production is one of the biggest barriers to expanding pig production units in Denmark. There is a great need to develop methods to reduce odour emission. However, it is very important that the solutions are economically feasible.

Pig Research Centre offers a wide range of feeding trials. Companies wishing to have their products tested will find answers to frequently asked questions relating to the way feeding trials are conducted.

The supply of feed additives is constantly increasing, and pig producers, advisors, and feed mills require impartial documentation to ensure that they get their money's worth when investing in and using these products. However, documentation of their effect is often sparse. Pig Research Centre therefore offers companies to have their products tested in a reliable, quick and cost-effective manner. It is also possible for feed mills to have a feed mix tested.

The Department for Nutrition and Reproduction is responsible for all feed-related activities under Pig Research Centre. We have one experimental station, Grønhøj, as well as contact to a number of pig production farms (trial hosts) where feeding trials can be conducted.

Please note that companies wishing to have a product tested that is not approved in the EU for the animals in question must forward appropriate product information to the Danish Plant Directorate. A trial cannot start before this approval has been obtained from the Danish Plant Directorate.

The 2017 national average productivity index reveals a 1.1 increase in pigs weaned/sow/year. Finisher productivity improved by 5.9% compared with 2016.