Sustainable pig production starts with the breeding

Feed efficiency contributes to a sustainable pig production

Sustainability is high on the agenda of public debate, also within agriculture. So, ensuring a more sustainable pig production is as crucial as ever.


Total feed consumption is one of the most important factors that contribute to a more sustainable pig production. In a note from the Danish Agriculture & Food Council, Sector for Pigs, it is determined that feed consumption accounts for 67 % of the total climate footprint in the production of one pig. Therefore, improved feed efficiency is a fundamental premise for DanBred’s balanced breeding programme – and we have seen great progress for this trait over the years.


For weaners and finishers, respectively, the climate footprint decreases by 3.3 kg and 6.8 kg CO2 equivalents when the pigs’ feed consumption is reduced by 0.1 kg feed per pig. For DanBred weaners, feed consumption has improved by 0.1 kg feed per kg of growth the past 10 years, and for DanBred finishers, feed consumption has improved by 0.24 kg feed per kg growth – also over the past 10 years.


At the same time, our breeding progress for larger litters of vital piglets also has a positive effect on the sustainable agenda. For example, now, 4.1 more pigs are weaned per sow per year than 10 years ago, this means, the climate footprint is reduced by 5 kg of CO2 equivalents per weaned pig.


30 years of balanced breeding work

Today, you can produce a finisher pig (115 kg) with more than 70 kg less feed than 30 years ago. And one of the reasons is DanBred’s continuous balanced breeding work.


We’ve had a strong focus on feed efficiency of DanBred breeding animals. Our current project on Metabolomic Selection will contribute to save 6.5 million kg feed annually. So, when we look ahead, we will still see an improvement in feed efficiency,” says Tage Ostersen, Head of Department in Breeding & Genetics at the Danish Agriculture & Food Council.


DanBred’s breeding progress has already resulted in major improvements for feed efficiency. DanBred finisher pigs today reach the same slaughter weight with 22 kg less feed than just 10 years ago. At the same time, daily growth has improved by 132 g per day over the past 10 years, which has reduced the time from birth to slaughter by as much as 13 days. When each pig eats less feed from birth to slaughter, the climate footprint is also reduced.


Productivity and sustainability go hand in hand

If you instead look at survival among piglets, there is also a big gain for the climate footprint. Our breeding progress has contributed to DanBred sows having more vital pigs than before. This means that fewer sows can produce the same number of finisher pigs with less feed than before.


When survival is further improved by 1 percentage point, which DanBred’s new breeding goal is expected to result in, the climate footprint is reduced by 0.5 kg CO2 equivalents per pig.


Balanced breeding contributes to a more efficient production, which leads to a more sustainable production. Pig producers around the world can look forward to a future where DanBred will ensure increased breeding progress for the traits that contribute to a more sustainable pig production.



Download our App!

Most Popular

Subscribe to our newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new tips & latest updates.

cONTACT danbred

We can help you transition to DanBred genetics, technical services, transport and more. Book a time with us, and we will call you when it suits you.

Get easy access to our knowledge!

Join our list and get valuable insights and practical knowledge directly in your mailbox.


Bred for Business