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Research article2014Peer reviewed

Pen hygiene, N, P and K budgets and calculated nitrogen emission for organic growing-finishing pigs in two different housing systems with and without pasture access

Olsson, Anne-Charlotte; Jeppsson, Knut-Håkan; Botermans, Jos; Von Wachenfelt, Hans; Andersson, Mats; Bergsten, Christer; Svendsen, Jörgen


The effects of two housing systems (deep litter and straw-flow), with and without access to pasture during the summer period, were studied in an organic growing-finishing pig herd. Pen hygiene studies, N, P and K budgets and estimations of nitrogen emission were made for two batches (8 pens/batch and 16 pigs/pen) one during the winter period and one during the summer period. It was concluded that there were no significant differences in overall pen hygiene between the housing systems. During the growing period in the summer, the pen hygiene on the outdoor concrete area was significantly better (P < 0.05) when the pigs had access to pasture. In addition, the total pen hygiene (indoors+concrete area outdoors) tended (P=0.09) to be cleaner with access to pasture during the summer period. The N-losses of the amount of N excreted were the same (26-27%) during the winter period as during the summer period. The amount of N excreted was on average 6.0 kg N per pig during the winter, and 4.2 kg N per pig during the summer; this was equivalent to an N-emission of 1.5-1.6 kg N/pig during winter and 1.1-1.2 kg N/pig during summer. The difference was mainly due to a higher feed consumption and more straw usage during the winter. In comparison to the calculated N-emissions from a non-organic pig, this was approximately 3-4 times greater. In the present study, a 10% larger feed usage explained the differences in N-emission by a factor of 1.2, a 15% higher crude protein level explained the differences by a factor of 1.3 and finally a larger fouled area explained the differences by a factor of 2.3. Differences in temperature and airflow were not taken into account in these calculations. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Organic; Pig production; N, P and K budgets; N-emission; Housing systems

Published in

Livestock Science
2014, Volume: 165, pages: 138-146
Publisher: Elsevier