Environmental regs push pig hog producers to modify rations

US - Production agriculture is becoming increasingly susceptible to legislation surrounding production practices and waste disposal.
calendar icon 29 June 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Regulations relating to nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are worldwide, from Europe to Australia and in the US Potassium and other trace minerals are to follow, said Dave Henman with QAF Meat Industries in Corowa, New South Wales, Australia,. He was speaking at Alltech’s 23rd International Feed Industry Symposium in Lexington, Kentucky, which hosted some of the world’s most renowned nutritional scientists across several species.

Governmental regulations in Australia have been thought to potentially regulate waste management from hog production facilities. However, Mr henman said that the pig industry had already began working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address the issues head on.

"This has paid dividends in the form of reducing the need for governmental regulation as most enterprises were advancing faster than government regulations dictated,” he said

However, government regulations are still in place. In Australia, if a production facility is in violation of nutrient management guidelines, they must show proof of continuing improvement. The monitoring costs are an expense of the operation, but the fines are a minor problem - business interruption is the issue, said Mr Henman.

Piggery enterprises generate a large amount of wasteand the contents of that are largely determined by the diet of the hog. As production agriculture has developed, the goal of feeding animals is to maximize production, thus often feeding a surplus of minerals that is then excreted by the animal.

In a survey of four grower diets in Australia, more than 50 percent of N, P and K that was fed (in the diet), was excreted.

This approach to formulation is no longer acceptable and imposing environmental regulations is forcing producers to change the way they feed their hogs in order to reduce soil nutrient overloads, said Mr Henman.

In Australia, the development of a computer modeling system, AUSPIG, has moved the measurement of nutrient inputs and outputs to the next level, Henman explained. This program considers all aspects of hog production including genes, management, stocking density and diet, to name a few.

The program takes a holistic approach with a main focus on environment. Aspects considered include:

  • Improving feed efficiency
  • Use of phase feeding and split-sex feeding
  • Minimizing feed waste
  • Feeding for optimal, rather than maximum performance
  • Improving nutrient availability with the use of enzymes
  • Increasing accuracy of requirements and feed data
  • Reducing over-formulation
  • Using higher-quality raw materials

Source: Livestock Roundup
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