Environmental trade-offs of pig production systems under varied operational efficiencies

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

McAuliffe, G., Takahashi, T., Mogensen, L., Hermansen, J. E., Sage, C. L., Chapman, D. V. and Lee, M. R. F. 2017. Environmental trade-offs of pig production systems under varied operational efficiencies. Journal of Cleaner Production. 165 (1 November), pp. 1163-1173.

AuthorsMcAuliffe, G., Takahashi, T., Mogensen, L., Hermansen, J. E., Sage, C. L., Chapman, D. V. and Lee, M. R. F.
Abstract

Production of pork, the most consumed meat globally, is estimated to emit 668 m tonnes CO2-eq of greenhouse gases each year. Amongst various production systems that comprise the pig industry, grain-based intensive production is widely regarded as the largest polluter of the environment, and thus it is imperative to develop alternative systems that can provide the right balance between sustainability and food security. Using an original dataset from the Republic of Ireland, this paper examines the life-cycle environmental impacts of representative pig farms operating under varying production efficiencies. For the baseline farm with an average production efficiency, global warming potential (GWP), acidification potential (AP) and eutrophication potential (EP) per kg carcass weight departing the slaughterhouse were estimated to be 3.5 kg CO2-eq, 43.8 g SO2-eq and 32.1 g PO4-eq, respectively. For herds with a higher production efficiency, a 9% improvement in feed conversion ratio was met by 6%, 15% and 12% decreases in GWP, EP, AP, respectively. Scenario and sensitivity analyses also revealed that (a) a switch to high-protein diets results in lower GWP and higher AP and EP, and (b) reducing transportation distances by sourcing domestically produced wheat and barley does not lower environmental impacts in any notable manner. To improve cross-study comparability of these findings, results based on an auxiliary functional unit, kg liveweight departing the farm gate, are also reported.

KeywordsPig production; Environmental footprint; Life cycle assessment; Feed composition; Feed conversion ratio
Year of Publication2017
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Journal citation165 (1 November), pp. 1163-1173
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.07.191
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeThe North Wyke Farm Platform- National Capability [2017-22]
S2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 2 (WP2) - Adaptive management systems for improved efficiency and nutritional quality
Project: FarmPlatform
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online27 Jul 2017
Publication process dates
Accepted26 Jul 2017
PublisherElsevier
Elsevier Sci Ltd
Copyright licenseCC BY
ISSN0959-6526

Permalink - https://repository.rothamsted.ac.uk/item/8v4w8/environmental-trade-offs-of-pig-production-systems-under-varied-operational-efficiencies

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