Comparative financial and environmental life cycle assessment of three South African pork production chains
Thesis (MScAgric)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The world demand for animal proteins and profit-driven production has led to producing animal proteins intensively. Intensive pork production systems have traditionally had a poor image with the public, because these production systems are associated with environmental pollution. Currently, pigs are produced on highly specialised farms, and are fed concentrated (often imported) pig feed. The resulting higher production and higher animal densities contribute to an increased pollution of water, soil and air. The aim of this study is to determine the energy balance and emissions of three case studies, and to compare these results with their financial performance. The impacts will be recorded in the following impact categories: global warming potential (GWP), acidification potential (AP), eutrophication potential (EP) and Energy Use (EU). The case studies are three typical South African pig production facilities selected by the South African pork producer’s organisation (SAPPO). The production inputs, from the feed acquisition to the delivery of one kg of pig at the farm gate, were included. The three farms are located in different areas in South Africa, namely KwaZulu-Natal province (Case study 1), North-West province (Case study 2) and Western Cape province (Case study 3). The functional unit (FU) for this study is defined as 1 kg of South African pig (live-weight) at the farm gate. This study found that the GWP/FU of Case study 2 is 4 and 2 % higher than Case studies 1 and 3 respectively. The EP/FU of Case study 1 is 9 and 6 % higher than Case studies 2 and 3 respectively. The AP/FU of Case study 1 is 4 and 5 % higher than Case studies 2 and 3 respectively. The EU/FU of Case study 3 is 45 % and 16 % higher than Case studies 1 and 2 respectively. The major activities that contributed to the environmental impact categories were the slurry management activity, followed by electricity usage. The financial and environmental performance comparison did show deviations. Therefore, it is recommended that environmental and financial performance measurements be made, in order to create a true reflection of the impacts. The potential for improvement in financial and environmental performance proved to be significant in the productivity of the sow herd, as well as in the management of the piglets. The location of the production facility does not claim to hold have significant environmental or financial implications. Management of the emissions produced by piggeries can offset the impact of the piggery's location.
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