Environmental impact of feed optimization: alternative protein sources in pig diets

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract

Abstract

Feed production is responsible for the majority of the environmental impact of livestock production, especially
for monogastric animals, such as pigs. Several studies demonstrated that replacing soybean meal (SBM) with
alternative protein sources, e.g. waste-fed insects, reduces the environmental impact of pork production.
These studies, however, used an attributional life cycle assessment (ALCA), which solely addresses the
direct environmental impact of a product. But replacement of SBM, can also have indirect environmental
consequences, e.g. impacts related to replacing the original function of the alternative protein source.
Food waste to feed insects, for example, can also be used to produce bio-energy. Accounting for indirect
environmental consequences might change environmental benefits. This study explored differences in results
when including or excluding indirect environmental consequences, related to two case studies: replacing SBM
with rapeseed meal (RSM), and replacing SBM with waste-fed larvae meal in diets of finishing pigs. Direct
impact results for replacing SBM with RSM showed that global warming potential (GWP) (3%) and energy
use (EU) (1%) hardly changed, but land use (LU) was decreased (-16%). Indirect impact results, however,
showed that GWP (15%), EU (12%), and LU (10%) increased. Direct impact results for replacing SBM with
waste-fed larvae meal showed that EU hardly changed (1%), but GWP (-29%) and LU (-54%) decreased.
Indirect impact results, however, showed that GWP (60%) and EU (90%) increased, but LU (-73%) decreased.
Environmental benefits from replacing SBM with RSM or larvae meal were more promising when only direct
environmental impacts were considered. Indirect environmental impacts results showed that, replacing SBM
with RSM or larvae meal resulted in pollution swapping. This would have been overlooked when results
were only based on the direct environmental impact. Related to feed optimization, we recommend animal
nutritionists to first assess the direct environmental impact to get insight in the environmental impact of their
feed. If policy makers want to evaluate the environmental benefits of a mitigation strategy it is recommended
to perform also the indirect environmental consequences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts of the 67st Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Pages705-705
Volume22
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event67st Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science - Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Aug 20162 Sep 2016

Conference

Conference67st Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityBelfast
Period29/08/162/09/16

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