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We investigated the financial impact of different prevalence levels of severe tail lesions (STL) during the finisher stage associated with changes in average daily gain (ADG) in farrow-to-finish pig farms. Prevalence of STL was estimated for 31 farrow-to-finish pig farms. Regression tree analysis was used to identify a threshold for STL associated with differences in ADG. Then, a financial analysis was carried using the Teagasc Pig Production model. A threshold of ≥0.86% prevalence of STL was associated with a 4.8% decrease in ADG which translated into pigs requiring 7 days more to reach target slaughter weight than in farms below the threshold. Reduced ADG meant that farms with higher prevalence of STL used 3.6% more weaner and 1.4% more finisher feed per year increasing feed costs by 1.5%. This reduced mean annual farm profit by 15.1% in farms with higher prevalence of STL. Our results provide an indication of the financial effects of STL in intensive pig production systems. The identified threshold for the prevalence of STL could provide a tangible target for farmers to focus on in developing strategies to reduce tail lesions and allow farmers to complete a cost benefit analysis of controlling STL. © 2021 British Veterinary Association.


Nienke van Staaveren, Laura Ann Boyle, Edgar García Manzanilla, Keelin O'Driscoll, Laurence Shalloo, Julia Adriana Calderón Díaz. Severe tail lesions in finisher pigs are associated with reduction in annual profit in farrow-to-finish pig farms. The Veterinary record. 2021 Apr;188(8):e13

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PMID: 33891723

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