Antibiotic and medical zinc oxide usage in Danish conventional and welfare-label pig herds in 2016–2018

Cecilie Liv Nielsen, Hanne Kongsted*, Jan Tind Sørensen, Mogens Agerbo Krogh

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


This register-based study compared the usage of antibiotics and medical zinc oxide (ZnO med) in three different pig production systems: organic, conventional free-range and conventional indoor in 2016–2018. ZnO med is used to prevent weaning diarrhoea with a dosage of max 2500 mg zinc/kg feed for 14 days post weaning. The treatment incidence (TI) of antibiotics (injectable and oral) and ZnO med was calculated as the total number of animal daily doses (ADD) per 100 animals per day at herd level over a calendar year. Zero-inflated negative binomial models were used to compare the antibiotic and ZnO med usage across the three production systems. The correlation between antibiotic and ZnO med usage was evaluated using Spearman's correlation coefficient. In all age groups, the antibiotic TI was highest in the conventional indoor system, lower in the conventional free-range system and lowest in the organic system. In weaners, which is the age group with the highest antibiotic usage, conventional indoor, conventional free-range and organic herds had an average TI of 7.20, 3.37 and 0,48 ADD/100 animals/day, respectively. Another important finding in the study was that non-use of antibiotics is more common (>30% of herds) in welfare-label production systems (organic and conventional free-range) than in conventional indoor production (16% of herds). The overall differences in usage of ZnO med between the three production systems were not statistically significant, but the probability of not using ZnO med, was significantly higher for organic (36%) and conventional free-range herds (61%) compared to conventional indoor herds (19%). There was a weak to moderate positive correlation between antibiotic and ZnO med usage at herd level with the weakest correlation in conventional indoor herds (0.31). The results indicate that ZnO med does not appear to replace or prevent the use of antibiotics and suggest that ZnO med is used differently in different systems. A weak correlation between the usage of antibiotics and ZnO med in conventional indoor herds could reflect a frequent use of routine treatments within this system. The lower level of antibiotic usage in welfare-label systems indicates that a significant reduction in antibiotic use in pig production would require housing and management changes or regulatory changes in the conventional indoor system. The large variation in both antibiotic and ZnO med usage between herds in similar production systems indicates that a further reduction in use of antibiotics and ZnO med is achievable.

TidsskriftPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2021


Dyk ned i forskningsemnerne om 'Antibiotic and medical zinc oxide usage in Danish conventional and welfare-label pig herds in 2016–2018'. Sammen danner de et unikt fingeraftryk.