Photo: Danish Agriculture & Food Council

New climate gains for Danish pig production

Danish pig producers are committed to reducing CO2 emissions from pig housing units. A new tool from SEGES Danish Pig Research Centre is helping to pave the way.

Danish agriculture has an ambitious but clear vision: production will be climate neutral by 2050. This will require hard work, not least on the part of SEGES, Danish agriculture’s knowledge centre. This is where experts develop tools and technologies which can contribute towards the industry’s goals. SEGES Danish Pig Research Centre has now produced a new tool for Danish pig producers – a calculator that enables pig producers to determine the CO2 footprint from the feed they use for their pigs.

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"The feed table is a calculation tool that determines the nutrient content in feed. The new element is that pig producers can now also see the climate impact from each feed component. This enables them to make the necessary adjustments to produce more climate-friendly feed – without compromising on productivity and the bottom line,” says Christian Fink Hansen, Sector Director at SEGES Danish Pig Research Centre.

Green proteins included
In recent years, significant effort has been put into developing Danish-produced alternatives to soya, which is currently the most important source of protein for finishers. This includes grass protein, broad beans and rapeseed press cakes. Such types of green protein are also included in the new feed table.

"Soya is currently the most widely used source of protein. To tackle the issue of deforestation, last year we entered into an industry agreement on the use of certified soya. But I think that locally produced protein will become more widespread in Danish pig feed mixes in the future,” says Christian Fink Hansen.

He emphasises, however, that there is still a long way to go before green protein sources become a real alternative to soya – largely because it is impossible right now to procure the quantities that would be needed.

From words to action
The updated calculation tool is another step along the road to more sustainable Danish pig production.

"For many years, we’ve been improving DanBred’s breeding programme – which many Danish pig producers use - and we have made progress in terms of producing pigs that grow as desired, but with less feed,” says Christian Fink.

A pig currently consumes 180.6 kg of feed during its 30-100 kg period compared to 212 kg of feed in 1990. The updated calculation tool means that it is now possible to choose more climate-friendly feed. When less feed is used, the climate impact per pig is obviously less.

SEGES regularly updates the so-called feed table for Danish pig producers. The table now also includes the climate footprint from various feed ingredients, which makes it easier for producers to see the climate footprint of each component.
Feed for Danish pigs mainly comprises barley, wheat and soya protein.
The calculation of the climate footprint of various feed components comes from the GFLI feed data base (Global Feed LCA Institute) from the European Association of Feed Companies (FEFAC).