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Accounting for uncertainty in the quantification of the environmental impacts of Canadian pig farming systems

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stephen MacKenzie, Dr Ilkka Leinonen, Professor Ilias Kyriazakis



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


The different environmental impacts of commercial pig production for two regions (Eastern and Western) in Canada were compared in a cradle to farm gate Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) using Monte Carlo simulations for statistical analysis. For the first time detailed production data from Canadian farms was used to quantify the impacts of commercial Canadian pig systems. The impacts were defined using 5 metrics – Global Warming Potential (GWP), Acidification Potential (AP), Eutrophication Potential (EP), Abiotic Resource Use (ARU) and Non-renewable Energy Use (NRE). Uncertainties in the model outputs were separated into two types: uncertainty in the data used to describe the system (alpha uncertainties) and uncertainty in impact calculations or background data which affects all systems equally (beta uncertainties). Using this method pig production in these two regions was systematically compared based on the differences in the systems (alpha uncertainties). The environmental impacts for impact categories GWP, EP, AP, NRE and ARU were found not to be significantly different (P<0.05) between Eastern and Western system, despite differences in the feed ingredients used and typical pig performance in the systems. The study quantified uncertainty systematically when comparing multiple environmental impacts measures in an LCA for pig systems for the first time.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mackenzie SG, Leinonen I, Ferguson N, Kyriazakis I

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 9th International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment in the Agri-Food Sector (LCA Food 2014)

Year of Conference: 2014

Date deposited: 07/08/2014

Publisher: LCA Foods


Sponsor(s): Nutreco, Canada