Trusted information & resources for animal nutrition.

Technical Resources

Environmental impacts of eco-nutrition swine feeding programs in spatially explicit geographic regions of the United States

Shurson, G., R. Pelton, Z. Yang, P. Urriola and J. Schmitt

This study was conducted to determine greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water consumption, land use, as well as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and carbon (C) balance of five diet formulation strategies and feeding programs for growing-finishing pigs (25–130 kg body weight) in the three spatially explicit geographic regions where the majority of U.S. pork production occurs. Feeding programs evaluated consisted of 1) standard corn-soybean meal (CSBM) diets, 2) CSBM containing 15% corn distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), 3) CSBM with 8.6% thermally processed supermarket food waste (FW), 4) low crude protein CSBM diets supplemented with synthetic amino acids (SAA), and 5) CSBM with phytase enzyme (PHY) added at 600 FTU (phytase units)/kg of diet. An attributional Life Cycle Assessment approach using a highly specialized, spatially

explicit Food System Supply-Chain Sustainability (FoodS3) model was used to quantify GHG emissions, water consumption, and land use of corn, soybean meal, and DDGS based on county level sourcing. The DDGS, FW, and SAA feeding programs had less estimated N and P intake and excretion than CSBM, and the PHY feeding program provided the greatest reduction in P excretion. The FW feeding program had the least overall GHG emissions (319.9 vs. 324.6 to 354.1 kg CO2 equiv./market hog), land use (331.5 vs. 346.5 to 385.2 m2/market hog), and water consumption (7.64 vs. 7.70 to 8.30 m3/market hog) among the alternatives. The DDGS feeding program had the greatest GHG emissions (354.1 kg CO2 equiv./market hog) among all programs but had less impacts on water consumption (7.70 m3) and land use (346.5 m2) per market hog than CSBM and PHY. The SAA feeding program provided a 6.5–7.4% reduction in land use impacts compared with CSBM and PHY, respectively. Regardless of feeding program, the Midwest had the least contributions to GHG emissions and land use attributed to feed and manure among regions. Water consumption per market hog associated with feeding programs was much greater in the Southwest (59.66–63.58 m3) than in the Midwest (4.45–4.88 m3) and Mid-Atlantic (1.85–2.14 m3) regions.

Results show that diet composition and U.S. geographic region significantly affect GHG emissions, water consumption, and land use of pork production systems, and the potential use of thermally processed supermarket food waste at relatively low diet inclusion rates (<10%) can reduce environmental impacts compared with other common feeding strategies.