News Update on Pig production : May 2022

Nutrition, key factor to reduce environmental load from pig production

In different parts of Europe animal production is highly concentrated. Pig production generally is the main animal production activity in these areas. Main concerns of these large numbers of pigs are the amount of surplus nutrients in excreta and gaseous losses to the environment. Main nutrients of concern are N, P, and heavy metals and main gaseous losses of concern are ammonia, odour, and methane. Although losses are inevitable to a certain extent, nutrition seems to be a key factor in reducing these losses. Main nutritional strategies to reduce N and P excretions from pigs are: phase feeding (N, P), supplementation of limiting amino acids to the diet (N), and addition of phytase to the diet (P). Nutritional strategies to reduce heavy metals excretions from pigs are: finding alternative, natural, growth promoters that could replace Cu and Zn in the diet; using feedstuffs for the diet that are less contaminated with Cd. Main strategies to reduce ammonia emissions are: 1) lowering crude protein intake in combination with addition of limiting amino acids; 2) Shifting nitrogen excretion from urine to faeces by including fermentable carbohydrates in the diet; 3) lowering pH of urine by adding acidifying salts to the diet; 4) lowering the pH of faeces by inclusion of fermentable carbohydrates in the diet. These strategies proved to be independent from each other and effects are additive. By combining these strategies a total reduction of ammonia emission in growing-finishing pigs of 70% could be reached. Strategies to reduce odour emission are: 1) reducing protein fermentation by balancing available protein and fermentable carbohydrates in the large intestine; 2) Minimizing breakdown of absorbed sulphur amino acids. More studies are needed in this area of research, but results until now are very promising. A clear relationship exists between fermentable carbohydrates in the diet and methane emissions. This disadvantage should be considered when tackling ammonia emission by this strategy. It is concluded that there is a large potential to reduce environmental load within pig dense areas by nutritional means. [1]

Environmental Systems Analysis of Pig Production – The Impact of Feed Choice (12 pp)

Goal, Scope and Method
The purpose of this environmental system analysis was to investigate the impact of feed choice in three pig production scenarios using substance flow models complemented by life cycle assessment methodology. The function of the system studied was to grow piglets of 29 kg to finished pigs of 115 kg. Three alternative scenarios of protein supply were designed, one based on imported soybean meal (scenario SOY); one based on locally grown peas and rapeseed cake (scenario PEA) and one based on Swedish peas and rapeseed meal complemented by synthetic amino acids (scenario SAA). The environmental impact of both feed production as such and the subsequent environmental impact of the feed in the pig production sub-system were analysed. The analysed feed ingredients were barley, wheat, peas, rapeseed meal, rapeseed cake, soybean meal and synthetic amino acids. The crude protein level of the feed affected the nitrogen content in the manure, which in turn affected nitrogen emissions throughout the system and the fertilising value of the manure, ultimately affecting the need for mineral fertiliser application for feed production.

Results and Discussion
The results showed that feed production contributed more than animal husbandry to the environmental burden of the system for the impact categories energy use, global warming potential and eutrophication, whereas the opposite situation was the case for acidification. The environmental impacts of scenarios SOY, PEA and SAA were 6.8, 5.3 and 6.3 MJ/kg pig growth; 1.5, 1.3 and 1.4 kg CO2-eq/kg pig growth; 0.55, 0.55 and 0.45 kg O2-eq/kg pig growth; and 24, 25 and 20 g SO2-eq/kg pig growth, respectively. The results suggested that scenario SAA was environmentally preferable, and that the reason for this was a low crude protein level of the feed and exclusion of soybean meal from the feed.

Feed choice had an impact on the environmental performance of pig meat production, not only via the features of the feed as fed to the pigs, such as the crude protein content, but also via the raw materials used, since the environmental impact from the production of these differs and since feed production had a large impact on the system as a whole.[2]

Scenario-based environmental assessment of farming systems: the case of pig production in France

Current intensive pig production is often associated with environmental burdens. However, very few studies deal with the environmental performance of both current and alternative systems of pig production. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the environmental impacts of three contrasting pig production systems using the life cycle assessment method and to identify hot spots for each system. The scenarios compared were conventional good agricultural practice (GAP) according to French production rules, a French quality label scenario called red label (RL) and a French organic scenario called organic agriculture (OA). For each of the three scenarios a “favourable” and an “unfavourable” variant was defined; these variants were used as indicators of uncertainty with respect to key parameters for technical performance and emissions of pollutants. The environmental categories assessed were: eutrophication, climate change, acidification, terrestrial toxicity, energy use, land use and pesticide use. Two functional units (FU) were used to express impacts: 1 kg of pig produced and 1 ha of land surface used. The scenarios were examined with particular emphasis on their contribution to eutrophication and acidification. Given this perspective, the RL scenario can be an interesting alternative to GAP on the condition that its emission of greenhouse gases can be reduced. The results for OA were very dependent on the choice of the FU. Per kg of pig, eutrophication and acidification were similar for OA and GAP, while OA had less eutrophication and acidification than GAP when expressed per ha. For the three scenarios, environmental hot spots and important margins of improvement were identified. Finally, the uncertainty analysis indicated that efforts should be made to produce more reliable estimations of emission factors for NO3, NH3 and N2O in the field. [3]

Constraints of Pig Production in Nigeria: A Case Study of Edo Central Agricultural Zone of Edo State

The study examined constraints of pig production in Edo Central Agricultural Zone of Edo State. Data were collected through interview schedule administered to forty one (41) private pig farmers in the study area. Descriptive statistics and multiple regression were used to analyse data for the study. Results showed that majority (85.4%) of the pig producers were male. The stock kept ranged between 1 and 50 pigs for small scale producers who formed 58.4% of surveyed farms, 51-100 pigs for medium scale producers (15%) and above 100 pigs for large scale producers (26.6%). Major obstacles identified among pig producers in the study area were difficulties in securing institutional loans (61.0%), high cost of feed and feed ingredients (46.3%). Flock size (t = 3.313; p = 0.002) had a significant effect on returns accruing to farmers in pig production. Institutional loan scheme to promote pig production should be established and properly managed by government and stakeholders in the livestock industry in Edo State. [4]

Economic Efficiency of Pig Production in Oyo State, Nigeria: A Stochastic Production Frontier Approach

This study investigated the economic efficiency of pig production in Ogbomoso zone, agricultural zone in Oyo State, Nigeria, between June and October 2009 using stochastic production frontier approach. A multistage sampling technique was employed in the selection; Ogbomoso North and South Local Government Areas were purposively selected because of the larger population of pig farmers and structured questionnaires were used to collect data from randomly chosen one hundred and ten (110) pig farmers. Descriptive statistics, cost benefit analysis and stochastic frontier production function were used for analyzing the data. It was revealed from the findings that mean benefit cost ratio for pig production was 2.82, this means that the enterprise is profitable. The result of the Cobb- Douglass stochastic production frontier function also showed that stocking cost, cost of feed and cost of labour had positive significant effects on the production output, the estimated gamma parameter (γ) was 0.780 and highly significant at 99% (0.01). Sex, age and household size had negative significant effects on economic inefficiency. The sum of elasticity was 1.191, indicating a positive increasing return to scale in the study area which might lead to over utilization of inputs in terms of excess spending on inputs. Although, the pig farmers were found to be operating on the frontier and were generally economically efficient, higher improvement could still be achieved through easy accessibility to institutional credit, pens expansion, improved breeding stocks and provision of technical assistance. [5]


[1] Aarnink, A.J.A. and Verstegen, M.W.A., 2007. Nutrition, key factor to reduce environmental load from pig production. Livestock Science, 109(1-3), pp.194-203.

[2] Eriksson, I.S., Elmquist, H., Stern, S. and Nybrant, T., 2005. Environmental systems analysis of pig production-the impact of feed choice (12 pp). The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 10(2), pp.143-154.

[3] Basset-Mens, C. and Van der Werf, H.M., 2005. Scenario-based environmental assessment of farming systems: the case of pig production in France. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 105(1-2), pp.127-144.

[4] Uddin, I.O. and Osasogie, D.I., 2016. Constraints of Pig Production in Nigeria: A Case Study of Edo Central Agricultural Zone of Edo State. Asian Research Journal of Agriculture, pp.1-7.

[5] Adetunji, M.O. and Adeyemo, K.E., 2012. Economic efficiency of pig production in Oyo State, Nigeria: a stochastic production frontier approach. Journal of Experimental Agriculture International, pp.382-394.

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