Free range pork production system on savanna pasture in Brazil
An alternative pork breeding system to traditional confined pork breeding has been implemented in the Midwest of Brazil on native savanna pasture mainly concerning welfare and product quality to small family farmers. A free range pork production, separated by solar electric fences, was implemented in a 4.5 hectare area on the University of Brasilia’s Farm in Brasilia, Federal District. The pregnancy and farrowing sectors are run in a cycle system, divided into 25 and 20 paddocks, respectively, both with a management central area. Native pasture is basically composed by Trachypogon spp., Schyzachririum scoparium, Paspalum eriantum and Echinolaena inflexa. Monthly rotation grazing is used, providing a four-month pasture recovery period. The maximum density range in pregnancy and farrowing paddocks is 5 and 1 sows, and the available area/paddock is aproximately 1000m2 and 280m2, respectively. Boars paddocks are composed by eight individual paddocks with 200m2 separated by solar electrical and wire-framed fences. The nursering sector has 4 paddocks with 160m2 each and the growing sector has 8 paddocks with 80m2. In the gestation paddock there is a collective metallic shelter covered with a straw and plastic roof as well as shade providing shelters. In the farrowing area there is an individual shelter similar to the one used for gestation. It contains farrowing sow restraint bars and females can make a nest with the available provided straw. There is also a shade providing structure. The livestock is composed by 21 sows and 3 boars in a monthly pork production system, with 5 groups of females. Artificial insemination is used for reproduction and the boar’s ejaculate is processed at the farm. The semen is collected with the gloved-hand method weekly, and, when needed, later diluted with the commercial BTS diluent. Sows are inseminated three times each heat with 100mL of diluted semen with 3x109sperm cells. Ten days before farrow the pregnant sows are moved to the farrowing paddock. Weaning of piglets occurs after 30 days of lactation. The piglets are slaughtered weighing approximately 23 kg each.
Keywords: behavior, outdoor pork porduction, welfare.