Pig Production in Belgium

Dirk van Gijseghem (ALT), Eveline De Haes (CLE), Ludwig Lauwers (CLE), Sonja Lenders (CLE), 2002

Pig Production in Belgium

This survey gives a summarizing picture of pig production in Belgium .

Chapter 1 shows the development of pig farming in Belgium over the period 1990-2000. The Belgian pig farming sector is characterized by an enormous growth of the pig stock, a decline of the number of pig farms, an evolution towards specialized, closed-circuit farms and an improvement of technical performance. The Flemish pig production is much more concentrated than the Walloon one. Chapter 2 illustrates the impact of the pig sector on the environment. Due to the explosive growth of the livestock in the past three decades and the evolution from soil dependent towards soil-less specialized pig farms, Flanders has to do with the problem of manure surplus in certain regions. In 1998 total nitrogen loss to the environment in Flanders equalled 245 million kg nitrogen. It consisted of losses to surface water, losses to the air and a residual compartment. The discrepancy of the actual nitrogen surplus (294 kg N/ha in 1998) to the target (surplus of 70 kg N/ha) needs to be minimized by 2003. Chapter 3 describes the manure policy in Flanders , which was designed to implement the Nitrate Directive (EC/91/676) of the European Community. The policy evolved in three phases. 1. manure rules to avoid the application of manure in excess of the capacity of the environment. 2. restrictions at farm level; 3. policy mix (reduction of the number of animals, use of feed concentrates with lower nutrient content, manure processing or export of processed manure). Specific legislation was introduced in 2000 in order to reduce on voluntary basis, the number of pigs at farm level.

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