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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Nematode parasite eggs in pasture soils and pigs on organic farms in Sweden

Lindgren, Kristina; Höglund, Johan; Lindahl, Cecilia; Roepstorff, Allan; Gunnarsson, Stefan


The EU regulation for organic pig production requires outdoor access to promote the animal welfare. This may increase the risk of infection of the common pig parasites, Ascaris suumand Trichuris suis, becauset heir eggs can survive for many years in the soil. The egg contamination of these parasites in outdoor areas with different managements and the faecal egg output from the pigs was investigated on 11 Swedish organic pig farmsin 2008. We found eggs of A.suum and, to a minor extent, T.suis in the soil from outdoor areas, which had previously been used for pig rearing and/or for spreading of pig manure. Piglets and their dams were turned out on pastures included in a crop rotation, and these areas had a mean of 2500 A.suum and 40 T.suis eggs per kilogram soil.When the pigs were 12-week-old, the faecal egg counts (FECs) of A.suum were positively correlated with the egg concentration in pasture soils before pig turnout. The areas used by dry sows had a mean of 11,700 A.suum and 220 T.suis eggs per kilogram soil. The highest egg concentrations in the soil were found in areas, frequently used by pigs in the most recent years. To minimise pasture contamination with parasite eggs, it is advised to have a crop rotation system and to inactivate parasite eggs in pig manure before spreading it. Parasite control needs further development to protect suckling piglets from infections due to environmental parasite egg contamination.


Ascaris suum; Trichuris suis; Organic pigs; Parasite eggs; Transmission on pasture

Published in

Organic Agriculture
2020, Volume: 10, pages: 289-300