CEFS report describes conservation practices for hog production

Date posted: December 5, 2012

pig in pasture(Photo by N.C. State University Communications)

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) has released a new report entitled Conservation Practices in Outdoor Hog Production Systems: Findings and Recommendations from the Center for Environmental Farming Systems.

The report, written by N.C. State University animal science Research Associate Silvana Pietrosemoli, explains strategies for reducing the environmental impacts of outdoor hog production systems, which can pose environmental risks if not properly managed.  Based on research and on-farm demonstration trials conducted at the Alternative Swine Production Unit of CEFS’ 2000-acre research farm in Goldsboro, the report identifies recommended practices that conserve natural resources while optimizing animal performance.

Among the report’s primary findings are ideal stocking rates (hogs per acre) based on farm circumstances, different management strategies for annual and perennial forages, the use of hay crops to remove excess nutrients, and the benefits of rotational  management.

“Consumer demand for pork from hogs raised outdoors on pasture continues to rise.  While still a very small part of the overall pork industry, niche pork producers need practical, science-based information they can use on their farms,” said Pietrosemoli. “Our report provides just that and reflects four years of on-farm experimentation in different pasture scenarios.”

The report is intended for outdoor, pasture-based hog producers and those who advise them, including Cooperative Extension agents, Natural Resource Conservation Service district conservationists, Soil and Water Conservation district workers and third-party auditors.  The research and report were funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant Program.

To read the report, or for more information about CEFS’ Alternative Swine Production Unit, visit http://www.cefs.ncsu.edu/whatwedo/researchunits/alternativeswine.html.

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) was founded in 1994 by N.C. State University, N.C. A&T State University, and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  CEFS’ mission is to develop and promote food and farming systems that protect the environment, strengthen local communities, and provide economic opportunities in North Carolina and beyond.  For more information, please see www.cefs.ncsu.edu.

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