Agriculture, Trade and the Environment: The Pig Sector by Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development

By Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development

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Extra info for Agriculture, Trade and the Environment: The Pig Sector (Agriculture, Trade and the Environment)

Sample text

But larger pig operations can use technology more cost-effectively and may have a larger incentive and capacity to deal with environmental problems. ). In the European Union, the number of pigs in the EU-12 increased from 102 million in 1990 to 115 million in 2000, an annual increase of 1%. Over the same period, the number of pig farm holdings declined at an annual rate of 5%, leading to a doubling in the average number of pigs per holding. In the United States, the number of pig operations has steadily declined, with production shifting to a relatively small number of very large farms.

Over recent years the United States has experienced a number of major lagoon spills or leaks (USEPA, 1999a). 2). The major airborne emissions from pig farming concern ammonia, which can lead to soil acidification, and greenhouse gases (methane and nitrous oxide), affecting climate change. Also important to those working in pig housing and living in the local vicinity of pig production units, are airborne dust and micro-organisms and unpleasant odours (ISU, 2002). Ammonia (NH3) is abundant in pig manure, and is released into the air from pig housing, stored manure and the land application of manure (Sommer and Hutchings, 2001).

In both countries this has been achieved with an increase in pigmeat production. With the shift toward fewer but larger pig farms the production of recoverable manure nutrients is exceeding the assimilative capacity of the cropland and pasture on these farms. Further, as pig production has become more spatially concentrated the quantity of manure from farms in these regions is exceeding the assimilative capacity of surrounding farmland to absorb pig manure nutrients at agronomic rates (Chapter 3).

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