Providing feed to animals is an important cost when producing meat. In Brazil corn and soy are becoming more expensive because of alternative uses, such as biofuel production. The LocalPork project investigates the use of alternative local feed sources and improved breeding strategies to efficiently produce pork in various local circumstances.
Brazilian pork production
Pork production in Brazil is based on feeding diets that contain mainly corn and soy. Prices of corn and soy on the global market are affected by other uses such as making food products and making biofuel. Even though Brazil is a producer of corn and soy, the transportation from crop production centers to pig production centers has a significant environmental and economic cost due to the large distance between them. The LocalPork project investigates the opportunities to use alternative local feed sources, such as by-products from locally produced Macaúba, the fruit of a native palm species, together with improved breeding strategies to better adapt the pigs to the local feed and climate. The ultimate aim is to make local pork production more efficient and sustainable which is expected to lead to better pork prices for consumers.
LocalPork brings together researchers in animal nutrition, genetics and economics from universities and companies in Brazil and the Netherlands. Four PhD candidates, two in Wageningen and two in Viçosa, Brazil, will investigate animal nutrition, feeding pigs with local feed ingredients, genetic improvement for efficient growth, and the economic and environmental impacts from adapting feeding and breeding in pork production to local circumstances. The project is a collaboration between the Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre and the Business Economics Group of Wageningen University, the Animal Science Department of Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Brazil, together with the Dutch and Brazilian organizations of breeding company Topigs Norsvin.
From the 10th to the 12th of February the researchers from the universities and companies met in Wageningen, including the newly started PhD candidates, to discuss the project plan and to integrate the research activities. Planned research trials will provide information to multiple PhD projects. For instance, how much pigs consume of a specific feed and the resulting growth of pigs, is important for analyses on the genetic improvement of pigs as well as for comparing economic and environmental impact of alternative diets. In addition to discussing technical aspects of the research, plans were made for dissemination of research output to stakeholders that include researchers as well as breeders of pigs, crops, and pig farmers.