Water foot printing and water use reduction of Irish pig production

Project: PhD

Project Details


In the pork production chain, water plays a crucial role. Freshwater is used for feed production, for drinking and cleaning purposes, both on the farm and in the slaughterhouse. However, freshwater resources are limited and unsustainable use can cause water scarcity in highly stressed watersheds. To make the pig industry more sustainable there is a need to quantify and characterize freshwater use and to assess strategies to reduce it. Insight into the variation among farms might open up new pathways for reducing water use on-farm (determined by farm infrastructure, management factors and water wastage), and off-farm (determined mainly by feed composition and utilization). Collection of farm level data is essential to fully understand variation in water consumption among farms, and the impact of management practices and dietary choices. With regard to this latter aspect, food-feed competition should be accounted for. This study will use a life cycle approach in combination with extensive on-farm data collection to quantify and characterize freshwater use of pig production systems and strategies to reduce it. The Irish pig production sector is used as a case study.
Effective start/end date2/01/186/06/23


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