Modelling nitrogen use efficiency by world pig production systems in 2050 under contrasting production and dietary scenarios

Luis Lassaletta1, Lex Bouwman1,2, Fernando Estellés3, Henk Westhoek1, Arthur Beusen1,2, Jonathan Doelman1, Salva Calvet2, Elke Stehfest1, Hans van Grinsven1.

1 PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, 3720 A H Bilthoven, The Netherlands.

2 Department of Earth Sciences – Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, PO Box 80021, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands

3 ICTA, Universitat Politécnica de Valencia, Camino de Vera s/n 46022, Valencia, Spain


In this study we model the global feed and land demand, nitrogen excretion and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) for pig production systems in 2050 under different scenarios for pork demand, production performance and dietary composition. We developed a new pig module for the IMAGE integrated assessment model and we constructed a set of scenarios following the storylines of the Shared Socio-economic Pathways. Our model outcomes suggest that pig production systems will play a significant role in the global agro-food system in 2050 including protein supply, land demand and N fertilization. The sustainability of future pig production systems will strongly depend on the livestock production performances, feed rations and manure recycling efficiency. Scenario analysis suggest that the replacement of part of the soybeans by swill and industrial by-products in the feed ration of pigs is a promising solution to increase NUE as well as to reduce the land demand associated with pork production.