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Strategies to Reduce Supplemental Phosphorus Cut Costs and Benefit the Environment

by 5m Editor
10 April 2006, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2110. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 2110

The Prairie Swine Centre suggests formulating diets according to available phosphorus and using the phytase enzyme to break down unavailable phosphorus can reduce diet costs while offering environmental benefits.

Phytase is a naturally occurring enzyme that can be derived from a number of sources including bacteria, fungi or yeast and, when added to the diet, it's able to break down much of the phosphorus in feed grain that would normally pass through the pig undigested.

Prairie Swine Centre research assistant Dr. Denise Beaulieu told those attending Focus on the Future 2006 last week in Saskatoon using this enzyme to release this unavailable phosphorus is one of a number of strategies producers can use to help better manage phosphorus in the environment.

"Phytase is an enzyme produced by microorganisms. Some plants also have the enzyme, some seeds contain it.

It was actually shown several years ago to be able to release the phosphorus that is bound up in most grains. The phosphorus in most grains commonly used in western Canada are bound as an organic molecule. They're part of a phytate phosphorus complex and the phosphorus within this complex is not available to mongastrics such as pigs or chickens.

The phytase enzyme has been used with most common feedstuffs. It's added commonly to diets now, especially within the US. It is effective on any grain phytate phosphorus complex. It can increase digestibility of phosphorus from anywhere between 20 and 40 percent.

Therefore, for example, if you improve phosphorus digestibility by 20 percent that would imply that you could use 20 percent less land to apply your manure.

The other thing that the phytase enzyme would do is it improves the nitrogen to phosphate ratio in the manure making the manure more valuable and more typical of what plants require."

Dr. Beaulieu notes the phytase enzyme can also be used in combination with other strategies designed to better utilize available phosphorus, such as phase feeding and split sex feeding.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor