Energy Use in Pig Farming

By the National Pig Association - Pig farmers use energy in both intensive and extensive rearing systems in order to achieve their production goals. The main uses of energy are for building services, animal feeding systems and waste removal. Energy also plays an important part in animal welfare and environmental protection, most notably in waste management and emissions control.
calendar icon 14 August 2005
clock icon 3 minute read

National Pig Association

NPA is active on members' behalf in Brussels & Whitehall, and with processors, supermarkets & caterers - fighting for the growth and pros-perity of the UK pig industry.


  1. Introduction
  2. Background to this Guide
  3. Measuring energy efficiency
  4. Establishing the facts and planning actions
    1. Taking stock of the current situation
    2. Comparing performance
    3. Identifying energy efficiency measures
  5. Energy saving measures
    1. Energy management approach
    2. High priority/low cost measures
      1. Monitor energy use
      2. Carry out maintenance and repairs
      3. Check the accuracy of controls
      4. Use information from your control system
    3. Medium and long term actions
      1. Improve building insulation
      2. Use enclosed creeps
      3. Improve controls
      4. Use efficient fans and ducts
      5. Efficient lighting
      6. Use high efficiency motors and variable speed drives on feed and waste handling systems
  6. Appendix:Main energy uses – detailed breakdown
    1. Farrowing heating
    2. Weaning accommodation
      1. Weaner rooms
      2. Kennels
    3. Finishing accommodation

1: Introduction

Energy use can be minimised and costs reduced through sensible selection of system components, wise use of insulation and attention to design and operation of control systems. Any alterations should take full account of the pigs’ environmental requirements and welfare. It is often the case that improvements in control systems and insulation will enhance the pigs’ environment.

2: Background to this Guide

This guide presents benchmark data on ‘typical’ and ‘good practice’ levels of energy consumption for pig farms in the UK.

Benchmarks are valuable because they allow producers to compare their performance with other similar businesses. In addition, they also provide two other useful functions:

  1. They allow routine assessments to be made that show progress against a benchmark. Such appraisals are not restricted to year-on-year evaluations as they can be carried out quarterly, monthly or even weekly to track progress.

  2. Opportunity assessments can be carried out. For example, if a facility is to be modified or upgraded, the effect of the change can be determined.

Throughout this guide, the benchmarks and information are based on methods and techniques that minimise energy consumption whilst maintaining pig performance at an economically acceptable level. Pig farming in the UK is a complex and diverse business with a variety of facilities being used for each stage of production. To produce guidelines for all production system combinations would be an extremely time consuming and difficult task. Therefore, in order to give realistic guidelines, production has been broken down into several key areas to illustrate typical performance with benchmarks. These production areas are:

  • Farrowing accommodation
  • Weaning accommodation
  • Finisher accommodation
  • Feeding system
  • Waste handling.

Further Information

To continue reading this report, please click here (PDF)

Source: National Pig Association - January 2005

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