Elimination behavior and soil mineral nitrogen load in an organic system with lactating sows – comparing pasture-based systems with and without access to poplar (Populus sp.) trees

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Innovative strategies in free-range pig production are needed to improve the environmental performance of the system. Based on previous studies, inclusion of trees was hypothesized to improve the system’s nitrogen efficiency. We investigated sow elimination behavior, feces load, and localization as well as soil mineral nitrogen load in pasture-based individual paddocks with and without access to two rows of poplar (Populus sp.) trees. In contrast to what was expected, sows showed no preference for eliminating in the zone with poplars but clearly avoided defecating near the hut, feed, and water. Soil mineral nitrogen load showed a heterogeneous pattern as also found in previous studies. In comparison to grass, our results indicated that the poplars had an increased winter uptake of nitrate from deeper soil layers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAgroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
ISSN2168-3565
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2018

    Research areas

  • Organic farming, free-range pigs, lactating sows, poplar trees, elimination behavior, soil inorganic nitrogen, cbio

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