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News 1666 views last update:Apr 18, 2011

Dutch researchers: Fewer pigs needed worldwide

About 40% less pigs would be needed worldwide if all pork production would take place very efficiently, Dutch scientists have concluded.

Scientists at the Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI) from the Wageningen University, the Netherlands calculated that about 44 million sows would be sufficient to meet the annual demanded carcass weight of 106 million tonnes of pork.
 
Worldwide, large differences in productivity exist. Professional pork production facilities in the United Kingdom grow 21 finishers per sow per year, in the Netherlands, however, this is 26. In addition, pigs are slaughtered in the UK at a carcass weight of on average 80 kg, in the Netherlands, however, this is 92 kg. In China, the world’s largest pig producer, annual piglet production/ sow/ year is 13.
 
The researchers concluded that the required amount of sows per tonne slaughterweight in the Netherlands is relatively low – and they used these efficiency figures for further calculations.
 
Total swine numbers
According to FAOStat figures, planet Earth had a total of 941 million pigs in 2009. Pork production worldwide that year was 106 million tonnes of carcass weight. Should the production efficiency be similar to that of the Netherlands, a reduction of 40% (to 528 million pigs) could be achieved.
 
The LEI scientists suggested that the Netherlands could play a role as model how to distribute knowledge and efficiency management.
 
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