New Sustainability Tool Calculates Environmental Impact of Pork Production Practices

New resource gives producers insight into the relationship between environment and production practices

March 24, 2023, 10:32 am | Sherry Hoyer

AMES, Iowa – Pork producers play a fundamental role in environmental stewardship as they continue to prioritize sustainable production practices. The Iowa Pork Industry Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach have developed a new digital tool to help producers understand the relationship between the environment and production practices.

Erika Johnson, Iowa State University animal science graduate research assistant, said continuous improvement in this area requires strengthening the understanding of the relationship between the environment and production practices.

Swine in swine facility."Our recent pork industry sustainability tool, the wean-to-finish pork sustainability calculator, was developed for producers," she said. "They can use their own data to understand how specific improvements in finishing, such as increased feed efficiency and reduced mortality, can influence the environmental footprint of the pig and barn."

Producers can download the calculator at no charge from the IPIC website.

A new fact sheet, Evaluating Production Metrics in Relation to Sustainability in a Wean-to-Finish Barn, was created as a reference for those using the calculator. It helps explain why the calculator was developed and how the information from calculator inputs can be used. It describes sources of greenhouse gas production and includes sensitivity analyses of carbon dioxide equivalents by mortality, feed efficiency and feed type.

Garland Dahlke, research scientist with the Iowa Beef Center; Lance Baumgard, animal science professor; and Jason Ross, animal science professor and department chair for animal science, all at Iowa State University; are the other authors of this fact sheet, available from the Iowa State Extension Store as a free download.

Shareable photo: Market swine in feeding facility.

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