BACKGROUND: In Thailand, pig production intensified significantly during the last decade, with many economic, epidemiological and environmental implications. Strategies toward more sustainable future developments are currently investigated, and these could be informed by a detailed assessment of the main trends in the pig sector, and on how different production systems are geographically distributed. This study had two main objectives. First, we aimed to describe the main trends and geographic patterns of pig production systems in Thailand in terms of pig type (native, breeding, and fattening pigs), farm scales (smallholder and large-scale farming systems) and type of farming systems (farrow-to-finish, nursery, and finishing systems) based on a very detailed 2010 census. Second, we aimed to study the statistical spatial association between these different types of pig farming distribution and a set of spatial variables describing access to feed and markets.
RESULTS: Over the last decades, pig population gradually increased, with a continuously increasing number of pigs per holder, suggesting a continuing intensification of the sector. The different pig-production systems showed very contrasted geographical distributions. The spatial distribution of large-scale pig farms corresponds with that of commercial pig breeds, and spatial analysis conducted using Random Forest distribution models indicated that these were concentrated in lowland urban or peri-urban areas, close to means of transportation, facilitating supply to major markets such as provincial capitals and the Bangkok Metropolitan region. Conversely the smallholders were distributed throughout the country, with higher densities located in highland, remote, and rural areas, where they supply local rural markets. A limitation of the study was that pig farming systems were defined from the number of animals per farm, resulting in their possible misclassification, but this should have a limited impact on the main patterns revealed by the analysis.
CONCLUSIONS: The very contrasted distribution of different pig production systems present opportunities for future regionalization of pig production. More specifically, the detailed geographical analysis of the different production systems will be used to spatially-inform planning decisions for pig farming accounting for the specific health, environment and economical implications of the different pig production systems.
- Intensive pig farm
- Random forest
- Spatial distribution
- Sustainable development
- Two-part model
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Gaughan, A. E. (Contributor), Linard, C. (Contributor), Gilbert, M. (Contributor), Visser, M. (Contributor), Epprech, M. (Contributor), Chinson, P. (Contributor), Kasemsuwan, S. (Contributor), Robinson, T. P. (Contributor) & Thanapongtharm, W. (Contributor), Figshare, 1 Jan 2016