Pig Challenges

Environmental Impact

Producers around the world are coming under increasing pressure to limit the environmental impact of pig production and reduce the carbon footprint. In some regions of the world, such as the European Union, producers are legislated for example with regards to the amount of zinc and copper that can be added to pig diets. In such cases, it is important that a highly available mineral source (i.e. organic trace mineral) is used to meet the mineral requirements of the pig.

Environmental pollution from animal production can arise from a number of different sources:

  • The excretion of excess dietary nitrogen by the animal and the release of atmospheric ammonia
  • The excretion of excess dietary phosphorous and other minerals by the animal
  • Inappropriate housing conditions which give rise to obnoxious odors and gases
  • Inappropriate manure and animal waste handling systems and their operation

Basically this means that there are two strategies to minimize environmental pollution from pig production systems;

  • Reduce any over-supply of nutrients in the diet
  • Improve the efficiency of feed utilization

In terms of pig production, the most critical elements and the ones that contribute most to environmental pollution are nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P). There are also concerns about zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu), since the levels in the diet are often well above the animal’s requirement, especially zinc in piglet diets (in some parts of the world) where it is added in an attempt to reduce scouring and diarrhea, and also copper in grower/finisher diets to promote growth.

Pig Challenges