Research Project Sets Out to Track and Reduce Energy Consumption in Pork Production

CANADA - The Prairie Swine Centre has kicked of a project designed to track and ultimately reduce the amount of energy used in producing pork, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 29 March 2007
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For years the global cost of energy has been escalating and that's been reflected in the hog industry to the point that energy is now the third highest variable cost, after feed and labor.

As part of a four year study scientists at the Prairie Swine Centre will survey all types of swine barns to determine current levels of energy use and then look at potentially workable energy reduction strategies.

Research Scientist in Engineering Dr. Bernardo Predicala told those on hand yesterday for the 2007 Focus on the Future Conference the most efficient producers are spending three to four dollar per 100 kilograms of pork produced compared to those on the other end that are spending 12 to 13 dollars.

Dr. Bernardo Predicala-Prairie Swine Centre

So Far we're in step one and the phase one of our study, is just a benchmarking part so we're conducting a survey of participating producers and trying to determine how much energy, in terms of dollars, are they using to produce a pig.

Based on that we're going to determine or at least classify different barns into the most energy efficient users and the not so energy efficient users and then we'll go into specific farms to verify those numbers and document along the way what measures or management practices are they doing to be very highly energy efficient and on the other end of the range is we're also going to look into barns and look into their practices that cost them to use much more energy than other barns.

Dr. Predicala says ultimately the information gathered through this study will be used in the development of a software tool that will allow pork producers to input monthly consumption patterns and determine the potential impact of energy conservation options on their energy costs before actually implementing them.

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