Projects per year
The environmental impact of livestock production is under scrutiny nowadays and is being situated both on a global level and local level. On a global level, the global warming potential (GWP) of meat production is criticised. On a local level, the excretion of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) is of concern as excess nutrients may lead to water eutrophication and soil acidification. The ERA-NET project SuSI evaluated if immunocastration may act as an ecologically, socially and economic more sustainable alternative compared to pork production with surgical castrates (SCs) and boars (BOs). Here, we report the environmental impact of immunocastrates (ICs) vs SC and BO, based on four trials carried out by European SuSi partners. More specifically, we aimed to compare IC with SC and BO in terms of GWP, N and P excretion per kg of pork production and test if this differed between experiments. There was an interaction between trial and sex category (PTrial × Sex category < 0.005) for all environmental sustainability parameters. Surgical castrates performed worse (higher carbon footprint of the feed intake, N and P excretion, lower N and P efficiency) compared to IC and BO, but the size of the effect was trial dependent. Immunocastrates scored intermediate, with mostly no significant differences from BO in most trials, but with significantly better values compared to SC. Over trials, the carbon footprint of the feed intake (land use change inclusive) per kg lean meat gain in the growing-finishing phase was 9-16% lower for IC vs SC and 9-22% lower for BO vs SC. Nitrogen efficiency of IC and BO was 7-10% and 9-14%, respectively, higher compared to SC. Phosphorus efficiency of IC and BO was higher than that of SC by 6-14% and 9-17%, respectively. Per kg of lean meat gain in the growing-finishing phase, IC excreted between 14 and 19% less N and between 14 and 24% less P than SC. For BO, it was between 14 and 27% less N and between 14 and 31% less P than SC. Differences between trials were larger than differences between castration strategies and trial design may have amplified the observed effects. Improving feed efficiency, adapting the feed to the needs of the animal (avoiding excess nutrients) and choosing low-impact ingredients are key for improving the environmental sustainability of pig production. Ending physical castration is another step to attain this goal.
|Publication status||Published - 2022|
FingerprintDive into the research topics of 'The importance of pigs' castration strategy on carbon footprint of feed intake, nitrogen and phosphorus efficiency under different management conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
- 1 Finished
SUSI: Sustainability in pork production with immunocastration
De Campeneere, S., Millet, S., Aluwé, M. & Van den Broeke, A.
1/09/17 → 30/11/20