Final Report: Final Report [PDF [an error occurred while processing this directive]]
The project will use a pig farm in the Canterbury Region to demonstrate how economic profitability can be maintained whilst the environmental effects associated with wastes are minimised through: diet manipulation to minimise the excess nutrients contained in pig effluent; and, identification of best management practices to deal with residual wastes and odour.
The major problems now facing pork producers and their neighbouring communities stem from the effects associated with effluent management. The urgent need to address these problems has been collectively identified by Regional Councils, rural communities and pork producers alike. All these stakeholders are concerned with the potential environmental and social effects that piggeries can have beyond the boundary of the site on which they are generated, and the subsequent adverse effect that this can have on the environmental quality and amenity values of the surrounding area. An example of this is the potential for leaching of excess nutrients into local surface and groundwater resources as a result of application of effluent to land. Pork producers know that their ability to continue farming in the future, especially if they wish to expand to supply increasing export markets, depends on being able to satisfy Regional Councils and rural communities that potential adverse effects of their farming operations (such as odour generation and nutrient leaching) can be avoided, remedied or mitigated.
Achieving the specified objective of this project will demonstrate how these problems can be addressed. The one-year project is being undertaken on a pig farm in Canterbury. It is based around reducing waste by manipulating pigs' diets to closely match their nutritional requirements, through use of Massey University's Pig Growth Model. Achieving this should reduce the amount of nutrients contained in piggery effluent. Minimising the wastage of nutrients caused by over-formulation should also mean a direct saving for producers in dollar terms - which will help achieve another key aspect of the project, that of maintaining on-farm economic viability and follow-on economic sustainability of the rural sector.
The project is in 4 phases. Phase 1 undertakes to establish the conditions present on the farm currently (September - December 2001). Patterns and quantities of effluent generation, feed utilisation, and pig meat production will be assessed over a 10 week period. Phase 2 (January - June 2002) involves analysis of all the information obtained during Phase 1 and devising methods to reduce effluent generation while maintaining or optimising pig meat production with existing or increased economic margins. Phase 3 (July - October 2003) will implement those methods and measure their effectiveness on-farm during another 10 week period. Phase 4 (November - December 2002) is transfer of this technology through the preparation and distribution of information bulletins and a seminar series for pork producers and the communities of interest.