SusPigSys - Sustainable pig production systems

Aim of the project:

Collecting, summarising and disseminating evidence-based information on successful strategies for improving sustainability in various pig production systems across the EU.

Introduction

Despite pig farmers’ needs to balance apparently conflicting pillars of sustainability (economy, environment, society), there is very little data to support holistic decisions at farm level. SusPigSys aims to collect, summarise and disseminate evidence-based information on successful strategies to improve sustainability in various production systems across the EU. Project outcomes include an on-farm assessment and feedback tool to help pig farmers improve their economic, environmental, and societal sustainability (e.g. animal health and welfare), as well as job satisfaction. Farmers in all partner countries are actively involved throughout the project to ensure outcomes meet their needs.

What: The project will be the first holistic approach of sustainability using actual transnational on-farm data. The results have the potential to increase the competitiveness of the EU pig production by making a more convincing benchmarking of sustainability possible.

Why: 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.

Where: The research is been done in eight academic centres in Germany, Austria, Finland, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom.

Main project activities:

Project outcomes include an integrative on-farm assessment and feedback tool to help pig farmers to improve their economic, environmental and societal sustainability, as well as their job satisfaction. This toolbox will include information on possible trade-offs between the three pillars of sustainability. It will be integrated in a software to form a farmer decision support tool with farm-individual feedback. In addition, descriptions of best practices will be published in various formats to help farmers learn from each other across borders.

Interim research findings:

The project started by collating background information and stakeholder views in a report (Project partners then established a dialogue with pork production stakeholders in each of the participating countries about what contributes to sustainable production systems and what are the most useful metrics at farm-level.

Stakeholder inputs were used for creating a detailed sustainability assessment protocol, which was applied to 68 farms in 7 European countries (AT, DE, FI, IT, PL, NL, UK). From this, a valid, condensed protocol was developed and applied on 155 farms in the same countries. The results are used to produce a ‘toolbox’ for analysis. In addition, descriptions of best practices will be published to help farmers learn from each other.

Project consortium:

Coordinated by: Dr. Sabine Dippel - Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (GERMANY)

  • AUSTRIA: University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
  • GERMANY: FiBL Deutschland e.V.
  • FINLAND: University of Helsinki
  • ITALY: Fondazione CRPA Studi e Ricerche
  • THE NETHERLANDS: Wageningen University of Life Sciences
  • POLAND: Warsaw University of Life Sciences
  • UNITED KINGDOM: Newcastle University