The Carbon Footprint of Pig Production

Today's food supply chain creates ~26% of the total emission of green house gasses globally. Beef is by far the greatest individual contributor with 60kg of CO2-equivalents per kg of food product and at the other of the scale fruit and nuts with less than 1kg per kg of food product.

Pig production is better than beef, but still with opportunities to improve

Pig production rank in between two, at 7.0, as it is non-ruminant livestock and doesn't generate the methane. One issue with using the C02-equivalents is the aggregation method, not least regard methane. Methane has a much shorter life time than C02, which can hang around for centuries, but is also much more potent for that short duration. However, it does not really change the conclusion from a pig production perspective: yes, it is more efficient than beef production, but less than fruit/vegetable.

Graphics are from Our World In Data

Great variation within the segment

The numbers shown are averages across the globe. There is a significant difference between the most efficient and the least efficient producers. 10% of all producers are 40% below the mean and 10% of all producers are at least 80% above the mean!

For the specific types Animal Feed and and Farm related processes are by far the biggest contributors accounting for 64% of the emitted Green House Gasses. Perhaps surprisingly, transportation only accounts for 4%, where the public perception is that this matters a great deal. However, due to the scale at the latter stages of the food supply chain, these operate quite efficiently when we look at it from a unit basis.

Data source is Our World In Data

What can you do?

The first step in any improvement program is to establish a base line, and then identify the greatest opportunities and start to address these. As we can see from above there is actually the possibility to impact the carbon footprint by optimising the processes that are within the control of the individual farmer. It is far less about where the product is sold and much more about how it is produced.

IQinAbox has the solution to help you in the process and through our dashboards allow you to identify herds that are not performing as they should, forecast when it is time to order or even swap feeds...or which perform the best at which stage for the specific context of the individual farm.