New survey shows increased pork productivity and decreased environmental footprint

Jul 17, 2023

By Bruce Cochrane, Farmscape & Lynn Redl-Huntington

An analysis of Canadian pork production over the past 30 years shows a continued increase in efficiency and productivity and a shrinking of the sector's environmental footprint.

As part of the "Canadian Pig Production Practices Survey for Improved Economic and Environmental Viability, conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Pork, pork producers across Canada were asked about all aspects of pork production, including the design, floor space, stage of growth and throughputs of their barns, the composition and source of diets, including inputs for producing and transporting the ingredients, everything associated with manure management as well as energy and water use.

Dr. Mario Tenuta, the Senior Industrial Research Chair in 4R Nutrient Stewardship and a Professor of Soil Ecology with the University of Manitoba, said the study shows from 1990 to 2020 the efficiency of producing pork improved by a good eight to 10 percent.

“You name it, it's improved, in terms of water, electricity or fuel, feed all improved and there is a number of reasons for this. One of them is genetics. Another is that there's advances that we've had technology-wise and then also the utilization of available co-products from the general food industry and then also distiller’s industries or ethanol or alcohol consumption, so we see a lot more dried distiller’s grains for example. Then utilization of meal, so the coproducts from oil production and particularly canola,” explained Dr. Mario Tenuta from the University of Manitoba.

“It's really positive for the industry to see this trajectory that we've had and I think we can identify areas of improved trajectory for the near future,” added Dr. Tenuta.

 Dr. Tenuta suggested that, if we change the diet even more, continue to improve barn design, go to renewable energy sources and further modernize production, the industry can anticipate additional improvements.

Swine Innovation Porc is funded by the federal government, Sask Pork and the other seven provincial pork organizations, as well as multiple private partners within the pork industry. Sask Pork and the other provincial pork producer organizations contribute 2.5 cents per market hog and .5 cents per weanling, which is used to leverage public dollars and multiply investments in research and development to benefit the industry. Every $1 from producer organizations is used to leverage an additional $8 from other sources of funding.

Source : Saskpork
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