Malene Jakobsen

Ph.d.-studerende

Malene Jakobsen

Profil

Integrated organic pork production and agroforestry - assessing and improving eco-efficiency

The overall aim of my PhD project is to contribute to development of eco-efficient and trustworthy organic production systems based on free-range pigs integrated with agro-forestry. Integration of trees with livestock production has been identified as a sustainable way to increase productivity of the occupied land and is believed to provide a number of other ecosystem services and environmental benefits compared to mono-cropping systems. The current organic pig production systems face challenges that are primarily related to the large nutrient load in the free-range pasture system, brought about by the relative high stocking densities and high input of nitrogen from concentrate feed, which are then excreted by the sows. This practice increases the risk of nitrogen leaching and high surpluses of nitrogen have been found in particular on fields with lactating sows. The idea is that by introducing, in this case poplar trees, into the free-range pasture system with lactating sows, the roots of the energy crops will take up the vast of amount of nutrients that would otherwise have been leached from the system. Improving nutrient recirculation in the organic production system is of paramount importance in terms of crop yields, which then provide the basis for an increased self-sufficiency with fodder. In addition, the trees are suggested to provide a more natural and stimuli-rich environment for the pigs with immediate possibilities to seek shade in hot periods and shelter in cold periods. Also, the system may eliminate the need for snout-ringing of sows due to uptake of nutrients from the trees independent of grass cover.

Key words: organic farming, pig production, lactating sows, agroforestry, resource efficiency, nitrate leaching, mineral nitrogen, sow behaviour, sow sunburn, crop damages, grass cover.

The PhD is part of a larger research project: pECOSYSTEM

Read more about the project: http://agro.au.dk/forskning/projekter/pecosystem/

 

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