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Labour in Swedish intensive beef cattle production

physical work environment and motivation

Bostad, Elise (2013). Labour in Swedish intensive beef cattle production. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Alnarp : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2013:69
ISBN 978-91-576-7876-8
eISBN 978-91-576-7877-5
[Doctoral thesis]

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Red veal and young bull production are the two main intensive beef finishing systems in Sweden and utilise practically all male calves from the dairy and suckler cow herds.
This thesis examined labour input and physical working conditions in the two systems in order to identify factors influencing these parameters. Data collection was mainly based on questionnaires, complemented by observations and interviews on farm visits, and related to the most common work tasks performed during different stages of the finishing period. Motivating factors among the Swedish intensive beef cattle producers were examined to analyse how individual orientations of motivation can help understanding farmers’ working conditions.
Total time required per calf in red veal production (n=31) was 5.5, 1.9 and 2.0 h/calf for small, medium and large farms, respectively. This corresponded to a labour efficiency of 1.5, 0.6 and 0.6 min/calf/day. Labour efficiency on young bull farms (n=101) purchasing calves at median ages 21, 61, 121 and 180 days was 0.76, 0.94, 0.64 and 0.69 min/bull/day, respectively. No significant difference was found in labour efficiency between the four different finishing models on young bull farms. A possibility to improve labour efficiency by up to 63% was found when comparing the farms with the 25% highest and 25% lowest labour inputs. An effect of scale on labour input was found up to unit sizes of 550 red veal calves and 450 young bulls per year.
The overall perceived physical strain was rated moderate exertion level. Cleaning tasks and handling of young bulls were rated with the highest physical strain. The prevalence of perceived musculoskeletal symptoms (MSD) was 51% and 65% in red veal and young bull farmers, respectively. MSD was most frequently reported in upper extremities and the back. Feeling stressed and worried, working in an unpleasant climate, high demands on the daily work pace and a high risk of injuries were reported by more than 20% of the 59 red veal and 98 young bull farmers surveyed. Work injuries were reported by 20% and 39% of red veal and young bull farmers, respectively. Swedish young bull and red veal producers with large, work-efficient farms were economically orientated, but just as highly motivated by several intrinsic values as those on small farms, indicating an unprecedented degree of multidimensionality.
Identified measures of improvement of labour input and physical working conditions mainly related to frequently performed work tasks, animal handling, fragmentation of farm, and to improved facilities in the quarantine houses where proportion of labour input and the level of physical strain was typically high.

Authors/Creators:Bostad, Elise
Title:Labour in Swedish intensive beef cattle production
Subtitle:physical work environment and motivation
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2013
Number of Pages:100
IBostad, E., Swensson, C. and Pinzke, S. (2010). Labour use in Swedish production of red veal. Journal of International Farm Management 5(3): 1- 23. http://www.ifmaonline.org/pdf/journals/Vol5_Ed3_Bostad_etal.pdf.
IIBostad, E., Swensson, C. and Pinzke, S. (2011). Labour input in specialist beef bull production in Sweden. CIGR Journal 13(3): 1-21. http://cigrjournal.org/index.php/Ejounral/article/view/1920.
IIIBostad, E., Swensson, C. and Pinzke, S. (2013). Physical working conditions in young cattle production in Sweden. Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health 19(1): 19-35.
IVBostad, E., Swensson, C. and Pinzke, S. (2013). The multidimensional Swedish intensive beef cattle farmer (submitted).
Place of Publication:Alnarp
Publisher:Dept. of Biosystems and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-7876-8
ISBN for electronic version:978-91-576-7877-5
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:L Animal production > L01 Animal husbandry
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 405 Other Agricultural Sciences > Agricultural Occupational Health and Safety
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 405 Other Agricultural Sciences > Other Agricultural Sciences not elsewhere specified
Agrovoc terms:beef cattle, calves, labour requirements, labour productivity, occupational hazards, surveys, operating cost
Keywords:calf, work load, work efficiency, questionnaire, rating scale, hazard
Permanent URL:
ID Code:10792
Department:(LTJ, LTV) > Department of Biosystems and Technology (from 130101)
External funders:Stiftelsen Lantbruksforskning
Deposited By: Elise Bostad
Deposited On:12 Sep 2013 12:14
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 11:03

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