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Effect of Three Husbandry Systems on Environmental Impact of Organic Pigs

Rudolph, Gwendolyn; Hörtenhuber, Stefan; Bochicchio, Davide; Butler, Gillian; Brandhofer, Roland; Dippel, Sabine; Dourmad, Jean Yves; Edwards, Sandra; Früh, Barbara; Meier, Matthias; Prunier, Armelle; Winckler, Christoph; Zollitsch, Werner and Leeb, Christine (2018) Effect of Three Husbandry Systems on Environmental Impact of Organic Pigs. Sustainability, 10 (10), p. 3796.

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Document available online at: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/10/10/3796


This study examined the environmental impact of the three common organic pig husbandry systems, indoor (n = 24), partly outdoor (n = 30), and outdoor (n = 10), in eight European countries. Global warming (GWP), acidification (AP), and eutrophication potential (EP) was assessed per 1000 kg pig live weight on 64 farrow-to-finish pig production chains (cradle to farm gate). GWP, AP, and EP varied greatly, and the most important source was feed production, followed by housing. GWP did not differ between systems (p = 0.934), but AP in indoor systems and EP in outdoor systems were higher than in partly outdoor systems (p = 0.006 and p = 0.010, respectively). The higher AP in indoor systems can mainly be explained by NH3 arising from manure spreading, while PO4-eq arising from feed consumption and emissions on pasture accounted for the higher EP in outdoor systems. Associations of farm characteristics with (reduced) environmental impacts were mainly found for AP and EP, and included: (Increasing) farm size, numbers of piglets born and weaned per litter, (bought-in) mineral feed, and high-protein by-products, the latter probably connected to beneficial effects of appropriate dietary digestible lysine levels and feed conversion ratio. Increasing carcass weights and dietary cereal proportions were associated with higher environmental impacts. Overall, variation was mostly higher within than between systems, and measures to mitigate environmental impact were identified.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:life cycle assessment, global warming potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, cradle to farm gate, indoor, outdoor, animal husbandry, pigs
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Animal husbandry > Production systems > Pigs
Environmental aspects
Research affiliation:Austria > Univ. BOKU Wien > Sustainable Agr. Systems - IfÖL
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Advisory Service
Germany > Federal Research Institute of Animal Health - FLI
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Socio-Economics
France > INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
Italy > Univ. Modena / Reggio Emilia
UK > Univ. Newcastle
ISSN:EISSN 2071-1050
Deposited By: Früh, Barbara
ID Code:34749
Deposited On:28 Feb 2019 10:13
Last Modified:28 Feb 2019 10:15
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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