Feeding Strategies Reduce Phosphorus in Manure

CANADA - A research scientist with the Prairie Swine Centre says pork producers can use a range of feeding strategies to reduce their use of supplemental phosphorus in the diet and their environmental footprint, according to Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 25 March 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Phosphorus plays a key role in the formation of muscle and bone and other metabolic functions but excess phosphorus excreted in manure is an environmental concern.

Most of the phosphorus contained in feed grains is in the form of phytate which is indigestible by the pig and ends up in the manure and phosphorus fed in excess of the pig's requirements will also end up in the manure.

Dr Denise Beaulieu, a research Scientist with the Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatoon, says, because phosphorus requirements change as the pig grows, it's important to match the diet to the animal's needs.

Dr Denise Beaulieu-Prairie Swine Centre

A very young fast growing pig has higher requirements for phosphorus than an older animal so the more closely we can feed an animal to its requirement the less phosphorus will be excreted in the manure.

One of the ways of doing this is changing the diet many times as the animal grows so that we're more closely matching the diet to its requirement, feeding male and female pigs separately because they will have different requirements.

However we also still want to make use of that plant phosphorus that is tied up in the phytate molecule and one of the ways we can do this we can also feed an enzyme, the phytase enzyme, that will break down this molecule and allow that phosphorus to become available.

Some grains, for example wheat, have some of this enzyme within the grain itself so more of that phosphorus is available to the animals.

Other things, for example, the recently developed low phytate barley is a barley that has recently been developed here at the University of Saskatchewan and this barley contains more of the phosphorus in an available form and less of it is tied up as a phytate molecule.

Dr Beaulieu says, as we have feedstuffs like this available to the pig we'll be able to feed more of the phosphorus in a form that is available and less will be excreted in the manure.

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