Feed from cultivated fields consumed by pigs followed by the emission of methane from stored livestock manure are the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions in pig meat production. Direct energy consumption in the housing unit only accounts for a small proportion of the carbon footprint.

The climate impact from pig units can be reduced by, for example, practising frequent slurry discharge, which means that less methane is separated from the slurry.   

Theoretically, it is estimated that methane emission from pig production could be reduced by up to 22 per cent if frequent discharge were to be practised in 90 per cent of all finisher housing units. Seen in isolation, this would reduce agriculture’s total emissions by approximately 246 kt CO2-eq., which corresponds to just over 2 per cent of agriculture’s total greenhouse gas emissions. This does not, of course, come free and would cost the industry DKK 15-18 million per year as a result of the additional workload. 

In addition, initiatives such as the choice of feed raw materials and improved feed composition for pigs as well as new breeding methods would contribute to an ongoing reduction in climate impact. For example, the annual breeding results would reduce the total feed consumption needed to produce a pig from birth to slaughter.