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Potential loss of nutrients from different rearing strategies for fattening pigs on pasture

Eriksen, J.; Hermansen, J.E.; Strudsholm, K. and Kristensen, K. (2006) Potential loss of nutrients from different rearing strategies for fattening pigs on pasture. Soil Use and Management, 22, pp. 256-266.

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Nutrient load and distribution on pasture were investigated with fattening pigs that: 1) spend a proportion of or their entire life on pasture, 2) were fed either restrictively or ad libitum, and 3) were weaned at different times of the year. The N and P retention in pigs decreased the longer they were kept on pasture. The contents of soil inorganic N and exchangeable K were significantly raised compared to the soil outside the enclosures but with no differences between treatments. Pig grazing did not affect extractable soil P. Regular moving of huts, feeding and water troughs was effective in ensuring that nutrients were more evenly distributed on the paddocks. Grass cover, as determined by spectral reflectance, was not related to the experimental treatments but only to time of year. During spring and summer, grass was present in parts of the paddocks, whereas during autumn and winter the pigs kept grass cover below 10%. Fattening pigs on pasture carries a high risk of nutrient loss and it is concluded that the most environmentally acceptable way of keeping fattening pigs on pasture involves a combination of reduced dietary N intake, reduced stocking rate and seasonal rather than all year production.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects: Soil > Nutrient turnover
Animal husbandry > Production systems > Pigs
Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > II. 9 (PIGSYS) New systems in organic pig production
Deposited By: Eriksen, Professor Jørgen
ID Code:10041
Deposited On:01 Dec 2006
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 10:09
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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