A multi-disciplinary approach to improve the environmental performance of niche pork production systems and marketability of Heritage swine breeds

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2008: $175,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Sang Hyon Oh
North Carolina A&T State University

Annual Reports


  • Additional Plants: native plants
  • Animals: swine


  • Animal Production: housing, grazing - continuous, free-range, grazing management, livestock breeding, grazing - rotational, stocking rate
  • Crop Production: cover crops
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Soil Management: soil analysis, soil quality/health


    This project investigated niche pork production systems that address market demands and natural resource conservation concerns. The result of this study will help determine the sustainability of outdoor systems utilizing a multi-disciplinary, systems-based research approach to better understand: 1) swine grazing systems that best maintain vegetative cover, 2) the relationship between stocking density, vegetation survival, soil loss and nutrient distribution, 3) the potential for different grass species to best withstand grazing by gestating sows, 4) heritage breeds that are best suited to deep-bedded hoop barn production systems, and 5) taste characteristics and consumer preferences for heritage breed pork products.

    Project objectives:

    1. Determine how stocking rates affect vegetation survival, soil disturbance and nutrient distribution under different management schemes on perennial pasture.
    2. Determine the effect of grazing management on nutrient loading and nutrient distribution in pastures.
    3. Determine which of four vegetation types will continue to protect the soil when gestating sows have access for grazing and lounging during the gestation period.
    4. Analyze the growth characteristics for heritage crossbreds to be raised in the hoop barn.
    5. Compare meat quality of heritage crossbreds produced with different sire lines.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.