A new project is to investigate ways of changing pigs’ diets to reduce their environmental impact and cut production costs. 

The £1.5m Green Pig Project will examine the potential of feeding growing and finishing pigs home-grown legumes as an alternative to soya, which has recently soared in price.

“The use of legumes in the UK animal feed industry has traditionally been limited,” said project leader Jos Houdijk from the Scottish Agricultural College. “This may be because the legumes available for animal feeds in the UK are often discarded by other end-users, and are too variable to instil confidence.”

Using home-grown legumes would also negate the need for transporting feed, cutting back on food miles.

The Defra-LINK project is expected to last three and a half years and will involve plant breeders and growers, pig feed manufacturers, producers, industry bodies, SAC, the University of Nottingham and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany.