Determination of the on-farm economic optimal slaughter weight of finishing pigs

    Project Details


    Main research question/goal

    What is the optimal slaughter weight of fattening pigs in Flanders from a commercial perspective? This question was central to the VLAIO-LA research project: "Determination of the economically optimal slaughter weight of slaughter pigs in Flanders", which ran from January 2014 to December 2017 at ILVO. This research aimed to serve all players in the pig production chain with useful information about the optimization of the slaughter weight, in order to make the market more transparent and at the same time more competitive. The online calculation tool was developed to bring the acquired knowledge and insights to industry. This calculation tool is the practical translation of four years of research into the optimization of the pig slaughter weights.

    Research approach

    First growth performance trials were analyzed to have up-to-date information on the animal performance of contemporary Flemish slaughter pigs in relation to a varying slaughter weight. Some of these tests also specifically highlighted the ecological implications of slaughter weight. In addition, an economic optimization model was developed in close collaboration with experts from the industry. Using this model it was investigated how a changing slaughter weight yields a different profitability, depending on pig farm to pig farm and how important the optimization of slaughter weight is for business operations.


    This optimization model has been transformed into an on-line web tool, With the supervision of the players from the pig sector, with which the Flemish pig farmer and by extension all players in the sector can gain insight into the optimization of the slaughter weight, and the effect of the key indicators for fattening pigs and of changing market conditions on the gross balance of the fattening pig branch. To make this model as user-friendly as possible, a great deal of attention was paid to estimating the course of animal performance with a minimum of growth data.

    Funding provider(s)
    DSM-Food Specialties
    IWT - Instituut voor de aanmoediging door wetenschap en technologie in Vlaanderen
    Nutrition Sciences N.V.
    ORFFA Belgium NV
    Vlaamse Landmaatschappij
    Zoetis Belgium NV
    Effective start/end date1/12/1330/11/17

    Data Management Plan flag for FRIS

    • DMP not present