School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Projects

SusPigSys - Sustainable pig production systems

Despite pig farmers’ needs for recommendations on how to optimise the balance between apparently conflicting pillars of sustainability (economy, environment, society), there is very little on-farm data to support informed holistic decisions. SusPigSys aims to collect, summarise and disseminate evidence-based information on successful strategies for improving sustainability in various pig production systems across the EU.

Project outcomes include an integrative on-farm assessment and feedback tool to help pig farmers to improve their economic, environmental, and societal sustainability (e.g. animal health and welfare), as well as their job satisfaction. Farmers in all partner countries will be actively involved throughout the project to ensure that outcomes meet their needs. After researchers and stakeholders have identified points to be addressed, a detailed sustainability assessment protocol will be developed, based on existing protocols and including the guidelines provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The protocol will be applied on a total of 70 farms in 7 European countries (AT, DE, FI, IT, PL, NL, UK) to generate a database from which a valid, condensed protocol can be developed using multivariate statistics. The condensed protocol will then be applied on 175 farms with various production systems across the 7 countries. Data from farm visits will be used to develop an integrative analysis toolbox to summarise farm data - the protocol and toolbox will link to an existing international pig production database to allow better benchmarking.

The integrative analysis toolbox will include information on possible trade-offs between the three pillars of sustainability and be integrated into software to create a farmer decision support tool with individual farm feedback. In addition, descriptions of best practices will be published in various formats to help farmers learn from each other across borders.

Project Coordinator: Dr Sabine Dippel