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Danish Pig Research Centre Annual Report 2012: Environmental Regulation

13 June 2013

The annual report outlines the environmental regulation of pig farms in Denmark, which includes a new scheme for reporting changes to the farm or farming system. It also describes the appeals system.

New Scheme for Reporting Changes

In spring 2011, a new scheme for reporting changes was introduced whereby it was possible for a pig producer to make minor alterations to buildings and herd without having to go through a complete environmental approval process. The scheme is often used in cases when the herd is unchanged or reduced and, provided rules and criteria are met, case handling is quick and smooth.

Some may in certain situations find that requirements are stricter than the requirements applying for a full environmental approval. The reason is that when reporting changes, it is not possible to adjust with individual requirements. The alternative is always a full environmental approval.

When extending the herd and when building new facilities or if existing facilities are extensively renovated, a full environmental approval is still required.

In 2011, 1,185 changes were reported regarding:

  • 2013 requirements for sow farms
  • Changed composition of herd
  • Slurry tank/silage storage
  • Full finisher houses with possibilities for producing more pigs in an unchanged facility.

New Possibilities

In autumn 2012, the scheme for reporting changes was extended:

  • Conversion from conventional to organic pig production
  • Delimitation of natural resorts
  • Test of environmental technology
  • Establishment of feed storage
  • Adjustment of "full pig houses"

From conventional to organic

It is possible to convert from conventional to organic production. If the number of livestock units is halved compared with the original approval, it will not be necessary to comply with a number of tight distance requirements applying to certain types of natural resorts. It is expected that traditional finisher facilities will adapt to the rules corresponding to a "veranda facility" complying with the rules for organic production There are a number of restrictions on spreading of manure if the site includes areas in phosphorus classes 1 to 3.

Delimitation of natural resorts

This covers two schemes. One concerns establishment of a herd housed indoor part of the year. For these, there is a maximum limit on manure production in the period 1 October to 30 April corresponding to 15 livestock units. The other scheme concerns livestock housed outdoor all year, where it is allowed to establish livestock corresponding to 250 livestock units.

Test of environmental technology

It is possible to report instalment of environmental technology that a pig producer wishes to be tested in existing livestock accommodation. Full scale testing of environmental technology is thereby made easier without first obtaining environmental approval.

Establishment of feed storage

Today, it is only possible to report erection of feed silos but with this scheme, it will be possible to report establishment of feed stores.

Adjustment of “full pig houses”

The current scheme for full pig houses only comprise approvals obtained before 1 January 2007. It is possible to report extensions corresponding to approximately 10 per cent of the production scope provided compliance with the described rules.

The scheme was set to expire by the end of 2012 but is likely to be prolonged to 2014. Requirements for areas in phosphorus classes 2 and 3 are now more flexible. This scheme only includes finishers over 25kg.

“Full pig houses 2”

For approvals obtained after 1 January 2007, a new, more general scheme “Full pig houses 2” was introduced.

In 2009, the basis for calculating one livestock unit was revised and since then, nitrogen emissions have dropped by eight to 10 per cent from both weaner and finisher facilities. Provided the emissions of nitrogen and phosphorus do not exceed the original approval, it is now possible to extend both weaner and finisher batches. However, maximum adjustment must correspond to the drop in nitrogen from 2008/09 standard figures to the year of the application.

When the latest standard figures from 2012/13 are used as the basis of the application, it is possible to extend the production by up to eight to 10 per cent if the original environmental approval was within the period 2007-2009.

Increased phosphorus excretion is accepted if the applicant complies with the BAT requirement for phosphorus and a range of restrictions on spreading of livestock manure on areas in phosphorus classes 1 to 3. The scheme expires in 2017.


For environmental approvals obtained after 2007, a pig producer can now report extensions of up to eight to 10 per cent of his weaner and finisher batch under "Full pig houses 2"

Environmental Board of Appeal

Case handling averaged 70 days for complaints submitted in 2011. Procedures of the board of appeal were revised as of 1 January 2011, when incoming complaints were classified according to whether they could be settled quickly or whether the case was complex and required extensive analysis before a decision can be reached.

The target is to fnalise a complaint within 12 months. As of August 2012, the board must solely focus on the appeal matter, which simplifes case handling further.

On 1 January 2011, 818 livestock cases submitted before 2011 had accumulated at the board. A task force was set up to bring down this backlog, and by 1 January 2012, 414 of these had been settled. The remaining cases were expected to be settled by 31 March 2013.

Table 1. In 2011, local authorities received 1,185 reports on adjustments. 94 per cent of which were settled within the two-month deadline, which must be considered a success
Total number a (silage) b (manure storage) c (welfare) d (pig type) f (full pig houses) Settled cases Settled within deadline
1,185 104 150 274 452 208 1,001 936
            84% 94%

Livestock Pressure

In 2011, the Environmental Board of Appeal stated that if a pig producer wishes to increase his herd while living in an area with an increasing number of livestock in respect to the reference year 2007, nitrogen losses must not exceed that of a farmer who only grows plants and only uses commercial fertiliser. All areas of the farm, and not just those required for the extension, must comply with these “plant levels”. This will typically require 14 to 15 per cent extra catch crop to neutralise the impact of livestock manure on the environment.

In effect, 53 per cent of these livestock farming in 2012 are affected by the increased requirement. Such tight requirements made many farmers in the affected areas seriously consider whether it is profitable to extend or alter their production. Consequently, production will drop, which in turn will result in loss of jobs and export value. Furthermore, the environmental impact is minimal.

In order to maintain the same level of pig production in Denmark, annual applications concerning extensions must constitute four to five per cent of production to neutralise the percentage of producers who quit the industry. For instance, a drop in applications of 1.5 per cent of production will correspond to drop in production of 400,000 finishers the first year alone.


If a pig producer wishes to increase his herd in an area with an increasing number of livestock, nitrogen losses must not exceed that of a farmer who only grows plants and only uses commercial fertiliser

June 2013

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