Consumers’ motivations for buying organic products include a wish of acquiring healthy, environmentally friendly products from production systems that also ensure a high level of animal welfare. However, the current Danish organic pig production faces important challenges regarding environmental impact of the system. High ammonia emissions arise from outdoor concrete areas with growing pigs and sows on pasture possess an increased risk of nitrogen (N) leaching. Direct foraging in the range area is suggested as a way to improve the nutrient efficiency at farm level and to support a more natural behavior of the pig. Thus, by modeling, we investigated the environmental consequences of two alternative scenarios with growing pigs foraging in the range area and different levels of crops available for foraging—grass–clover or a combination of Jerusalem artichokes and lucerne. It was possible to have growing pigs on free-range without increasing N leaching compared to the current practice. The alternative system with Jerusalem artichokes and lucerne (high integration of forage) showed the lowest carbon foot print with 3.12 CO2
live weight pig compared to the current Danish pasture based system with 3.69 kg CO2
live weight pig. Due to positive impact on soil carbon sequestration, the second alternative system based on grass-clover (low integration of forage) showed a similar carbon foot print compared to current practice with 3.68 kg CO2
live weight pig. It is concluded that in practice there is room for development of organic farming systems where direct foraging plays a central role.
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