Environment

Environmental Management

Caring for our environment

The New Zealand pork industry is proud to be an environmentally sustainable farming industry.

The nature and size of our industry and our commitment to best practice, means we have a small environmental footprint relative to other parts of the primary production sector.

We encourage our farmers to adopt good management practices, ensuring they are stewards of the environment, sustainably managing water, nutrients and and to preserve and enhance the environment for future generations.

Climate change

Greenhouse gas emissions from commercial pig farming are low compared to other livestock production sectors. The sector currently contributes just 0.2 per cent of New Zealand’s total agricultural emissions.

This is partly because pigs’ digestive systems are monogastric – like humans – so they naturally produce much lower methane emissions than ruminant animals like cattle or sheep. Our industry is also much smaller than the pastoral sector and our methods of farming are very different.  

Our goal is for the commercial pig farming sector to be carbon neutral before 2050.

We are in the process of analysing our sector emissions profile, allowing us to track changes as we move forward to that goal. To support this goal, we are developing tools to enable commercial pig farmers to understand the sources of emissions on their farms,  and to identify opportunities for emissions reductions.

Covered effluent ponds significantly reduce methane emissions and, in some cases, the methane captured can be used as biogas on the farm – reducing electricity use. 

Water quality and nutrients

Our farmers are committed to farming practices that sustainably manage nutrients, to protect freshwater quality and enhance land productivity.

Pig manure, like manure from other livestock animals, contains nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients that can contribute to poor water quality when not managed well.

In indoor farming systems, manure is collected, stored and may be treated before being applied to land. This gives farmers a high level of control over when and where nutrients are applied, maximising their value as a fertiliser and minimising losses to the environment.  

In outdoor farming systems, farmers can prevent build up of soil nutrients by operating a rotational system within a larger pastoral or arable operation. By regularly rotating the paddocks holding pigs , nutrients can be taken up by subsequent pasture or crops before being exported using ‘cut and carry’ feed methods.  

We undertake and access research as required, to improve nutrient management practices and farm efficiencies. We are also promoting access to reliable and accurate tools available to farmers for calculating nutrient loss from pig farming activities.

Choice of ground cover can change environmental outcomes

Regulations

Because of the small scale of our industry, pig farming can often be overlooked in local planning and regulatory development and reform.

NZPork works hard to stay up to date with local authority consenting requirements so we can assist our farmers to develop necessary documentation and not only maintain compliance but where possible, stay ahead of the game.