Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Towards a methodology to formulate sustainable diets for livestock: accounting for environmental impact in diet formulation

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 objective of this study was to develop a novel methodology that enables pig diets to be17 formulated explicitly for environmental impact objectives using a Life Cycle Assessment18 (LCA) approach. To achieve this, the following methodological issues needed to be19 addressed: 1) account for environmental impacts caused by both ingredient choice and20 nutrient excretion, 2) formulate diets for multiple environmental impact objectives, and 3)21 allow flexibility to identify the optimal nutritional composition for each environmental22 impact objective. An LCA model based on Canadian pig farms was integrated into a diet23 formulation tool to compare the use of different ingredients in Eastern and Western Canada.24 By allowing the feed energy content to vary, it was possible to identify the optimum energy25 density for different environmental impact objectives, whilst accounting for the expected26 effect of energy density on feed intake. A least cost diet was compared with diets formulated27 to minimise the following objectives: non-renewable resource use, acidification potential,28 eutrophication potential, global warming potential and a combined environmental impact29 score (using these four categories). The resulting environmental impacts were compared30 using parallel Monte-Carlo simulations to account for shared uncertainty. When optimising31 diets to minimise a single environmental impact category, reductions in the said category32 were observed in all cases. However, this was at the expense of increasing the impact in other33 categories and higher dietary costs. The methodology can identify nutritional strategies to34 minimise environmental impacts, such as increasing the nutritional density of the diets35 compared to the least cost formulation.

Publication metadata

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

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Nutrition

Year: 2016

Volume: 115

Issue: 10

Pages: 1860-1874

Print publication date: 01/05/2016

Online publication date: 18/03/2016

Acceptance date: 10/02/2016

Date deposited: 16/08/2016

ISSN (print): 0007-1145

ISSN (electronic): 1475-2662

Publisher: Cambridge Univeristy Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0007114516000763


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric