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U.S. pig producers improve in key sustainability metrics: study

The nation’s pig farmers continue to show improvements in key metrics measuring the sustainability of their operations, according to a new study by the University of Arkansas.

The study, using a life-cycle assessment methodology, found that U.S. pig farmers on average reduced land use by 75.9 percent, water by 25.1 percent, carbon footprint by 7.7 percent, and energy by 7 percent between 1960 and 2015 on a per pound/kilogram of live weight pig produced basis.

The Pork Checkoff-funded research study, titled “A Retrospective Assessment of U.S. Pork Production: 1960 to 2015,” included material and energy flows through the full supply chain continuum, from extraction of raw materials to production live, marketweight pigs including culled sows. The data provide pig farmers with benchmarks to set their sustainability goals.

The researchers said the study is the most accurate to date, with key improvements including the ability to use historic weather data down to the county level. They also note significant changes in production in 2015 compared with 2009, including: raising animals to heavier weights; an anomalous spike in mortality rates due to one-time, national disease outbreak; drought effects on crop yield reduction; and greater inclusion rates of DDGs in pig diets. To read the study, click here.

Source : Meatingplace