Knowledge for better food systems

Danish pork production

Aarhus University in Denmark has published an environmental assessment of Danish pork production.
Aarhus University in Denmark has published an environmental assessment of Danish pork production. Here are the main points:
  • Danish pork emits around 3.6kg CO2e/kg of carcass weight pork.
  • The main environmental impacts occur at the farm stage, before the pig is slaughtered.
  • The highest contributions to global warming, eutrophication and acidification arise from production of feed and handling of manure in the pig housing and under storage. However, the manure/slurry applied to the fields also made a significant contribution to eutrophication potential.
  • The transport of the pork to the Port of Harwich was not an environmental hot spot and contributed less than 1% of the total amount of greenhouse gasses emitted during the production.
The environmental profile of pork established was based on data from 2005, and it was found,that the environmental impact (global warming, eutrophication and acidification potentials) has been reduced since 1995. These environmental improvements were mainly obtained by lower feed (and protein) consumption and improved handling of manure/slurry. A potential exist for improving the environmental profile further. In particular, the greenhouse gas emission per kg pork can be reduced, if the manure/slurry is anaerobically digested, and the biogas is used for heat and power production. The environmental impact of Danish pork was compared with the environmental impact of British and Dutch pork. It was found that the global warming potentials were equal, whereas the eutrophication and acidification potential was higher for British pork.

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