A bio-economic simulation study on the association between key performance indicators and pluck lesions in Irish farrow-to-finish pig farms

Julia Adriana Calderón Díaz*, Maria Rodrigues da Costa, Laurence Shalloo, Jarkko K. Niemi, Finola Catherine Leonard, Daniel Crespo-Piazuelo, Josep Gasa, Edgar García Manzanilla

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: Pluck lesions are associated with decreased performance in grower-finisher pigs, but their economic impact needs to be further investigated. This study aimed to identify the main pluck lesions and the cut-off value for their prevalence, associated with changes in average daily gain (ADG) during the wean-to-finish period, to simulate their effects on economic performance of farrow-to-finish farms. Pigs (n = 162 ± 51.9 per farm) from 56 farrow-to-finish farms were inspected at slaughter and the prevalence of enzootic pneumonia-like lesions, pleurisy, lung scars, abscesses, pericarditis, and liver milk spots was estimated. For each farm, annual performance indicators were obtained. Regression trees analysis (RTA) was used to identify pluck lesions and to estimate cut-off values for their prevalence associated with changes in ADG. Different scenarios were simulated as per RTA results and economic and risk analyses were performed using the Teagasc Pig Production Model. Risk analysis was performed by Monte Carlo sampling using the Microsoft Excel add-in @Risk with 10,000 iterations.

RESULTS: Pleurisy and lung scars were the main lesions associated with changes in ADG. Three scenarios were simulated based on RTA results: a 728 sow farrow-to-finish farm with prevalence of i) pleurisy < 25% and lung scars < 8% (LPLSC; ADG = 760 g); ii) pleurisy < 25% and lung scar ≥8% (LPHSC; ADG = 725 g) and iii) pleurisy ≥25% (HP; ADG = 671 g). The economic analysis showed increased feed and dead animals for disposal costs, and lower sales in the HP and LPHSC scenarios than in the LPLSC scenario; thereby reducing gross margin and net profit. Results from the risk analysis showed lower probability of reaching any given level of profit in the HP scenario compared with the LPHSC and LPLSC scenarios.

CONCLUSION: Under the conditions of this study, higher prevalence of pleurisy and lung scars were associated with decreased ADG during the grower-finisher period and with lower economic return in the simulated farms. These results highlight the economic benefits and importance of preventing and/or controlling respiratory disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
JournalPorcine Health Management
Issue number1
Early online date9 Dec 2020
Publication statusFirst published - 9 Dec 2020


  • Economic modelling
  • Lung scars
  • Pig production systems
  • Pleurisy
  • Regression trees
  • Stochastic budgeting


Dive into the research topics of 'A bio-economic simulation study on the association between key performance indicators and pluck lesions in Irish farrow-to-finish pig farms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this