Phosphorous in pig diets

UK - In research conducted by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Northern Ireland, three different levels of phosphous in pig diets were compared.
calendar icon 8 December 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for pigs - vital for bone formation and growth - but it is also a major contributor to the eutrophication of waterways and is therefore viewed with concern by environmentalists.

Three levels of total P were compared: 0.6 percent, 0.5 percent and and 0.45 percent (fresh basis). If all finishing pigs in Northern Ireland were offered diets based on 0.45 percent P rather than 0.6 percent P, loss of P to the environment would be reduced by 86 tonnes a year, says Dr. Elizabeth McCann.

The research has concluded:

  • 0.45 percent total P (fresh basis) is sufficient to supply adequate P for growth and metabolism in finishing pigs.
  • It is not possible to formulate finishing pig diets to levels lower than 0.45 percent total P (fresh basis).
  • 0.6 percent total P (fresh basis) results in an oversupply of P to finishing pigs and increases urinary P loss.
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