Changes in Pig Production in China and Their Effects on Nitrogen and Phosphorus Use and Losses

Z.H. Bai, L. Ma, W. Qin, Q. Chen, O. Oenema, F.S. Zhang

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87 Citations (Scopus)


China's pig production has increased manifold in the past 50 years, and this has greatly affected the nitrogen and phosphorus use and losses in the pig production sector. However, the magnitude of these changes are not well-known. Here, we provide an in-depth account of the changes in pig production-N and P use and total N and P losses in the whole pig production chain during the period 1960-2010-through simulation modeling and using data from national statistics and farm surveys. For the period of 2010-2030, we explored possible effects of technological and managerial measures aimed at improving the performances of pig production via scenario analysis. We used and further developed the NUtrient flows in Food Chains, Environment and Resources use (NUFER) model to calculate the feed requirement and consumption, and N and P losses in different pig production systems for all the years Between 1960 and 2010, pig production has largely shifted from the so-called backyard system to landless systems. The N use efficiencies at fattener level increased from 18 to 28%, due to the increased animal productivity. However, the N use efficiencies at the Whole system level decreased from 46 to 11% during this period, mainly due to the increase of landless pig farms, which rely on imported feed and have no land-base for manure disposal. The total N and P losses were 5289 and 829 Gg in 2010, which is 30 and 95 times higher than in 1960. In the business as usual scenario, the total N and P losses were projected to increase by 25 and 55% between 2010 and 2030, respectively. Analyses of other scenarios indicate that packages of technological and managerial measures can decrease total N and P losses by 64 and 95% respectively. Such improvements require major transition in the pig production sector, notably, in manure management, herd management, and feeding practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12742-12749
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • food-chain
  • integrated assessment
  • ammonia emission
  • nutrient flows
  • agriculture
  • consumption
  • management
  • performance
  • excretion
  • denmark

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