Photo: DAFC

Photo: Calculations for pigs based on the PEF (Production Efficiency Factor) calculation method. Relative distribution is expressed as a percentage. Source: SEGES, Danish Agriculture & Food Council.

Sustainable pig meat – more for less

Efficient breeding work, new insights into optimum feed composition and improved health and production conditions have increased productivity in Danish pig production. The production of more pig meat for less environmental impact lies at the heart of the climate vision for Denmark’s pig meat production.

Halving nitrogen and phosphorus per kg produced pig meat in Denmark’s pig meat production since 1985
Efforts to reduce emissions in pig meat production have also led to measurable results.

"The figures show that since 1985, Danish pig production has halved its emissions of nitrogen and phosphorus per kg of produced pig meat. The ammonia loss from housing and slurry storage has been reduced by 75 %. 

This is the result of a long-standing and sustained effort by pig producers and their advisers. This is due to efficient breeding work, new insight into optimum feed composition and better health and production conditions that have increased productivity in Danish pig production,” says Christian Fink Hansen, Director of the Pig Sector at the Danish Agriculture & Food Council.

Read also: Sustainable and climate-friendly pig meat production is achieved through breeding work

Read also: Latest statistics: carbon footprint in Danish pig production

Biological environmental technologies and feed important for sustainable pig meat
Since the end of the 1980s, for example, amino acids have been increasingly used in pig feed to ensure a more balanced compound feed. This means that feed today contains far less soybean meal than before. More specifically, feed for finishers today contains approx. 148g of protein per feed unit whereas in the late 80s, it was as much as 185g protein. Calculated solely in terms of the impact of mixed amino acids, today’s production pig has 36 percentage points lower ammonia loss with 2020 feed than if the same pig was given typical feed from the late 80s. Moreover, the switch from solid manure + liquid manure to slurry-based housing systems has also reduced the loss of ammonia from housing units and manure storage.

Read also: Pig industry signs up for to new vision for Danish pig production

The enzyme phytase, which is mixed in the feed, has led to a substantial reduction in phosphorus emissions per pig. As shown in the figures above, since 1985, the emission of both nitrogen and phosphorus since 1985 has halved for every kg of pig meat produced while ammonia loss from housing unit and manure store has fallen by as much as 75 %.

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