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Combination of Strategies Recommended for Reducing Phosphorus in Livestock Manure

by 5m Editor
5 July 2007, at 11:40am

CANADA - The University of Manitoba's Department of Animal Science recommends a combination of strategies to reduce the amount of phosphorus that ends up in manure.

Although phosphorus is an essential nutrient required for the healthy development of all types of livestock, it creates environmental concerns when too much remains in manure.

Dr. Martin Nyachoti, an associate professor with the University of Manitoba's Department of Animal Science, recommends using a combination of strategies to reduce the amount of phosphorus that ends up in the manure.

Clip-Dr. Martin Nyachoti-University of Manitoba

The phosphorus that is present in the feed ingredients is not available to all animals, particularly pigs and poultry, because it's bound in a form that is known as phytate phosphorus and pigs and poultry do not produce enough enzyme, phytase, that is required to break down that phytate phosphorus.

Essentially what us happening is that, mostly in grain feeds, anywhere from 60 to 70 percent of the phosphorus is in this form of phytate so it it's not really readily available to pigs or to animals.

There's a number of strategies available.

One of which is currently commercially available is the use of the enzyme phytase that has been used and it widely used in Europe and I think it's used in quite a few farms here in Canada.

That's the enzyme that breaks down the phytate phosphorus and makes it available.

The other strategy is trying to use feed ingredients with high levels of digestible phosphorus, ingredients such as distillers grains and there has become available ingredients that have high available phosphorus that have been developed.

We've done some work on micronization and that also shows that it improves the amount of phosphorus that is utilized so all these strategies will go a long way to reduce the amount of phosphorus that is excreted.


Dr. Nyachoti suggests producers need to understand the requirements of the animals they're feeding and accurately match what is in the diet with what the animal requires.

He says that will go a long way toward reducing the amount of phosphorus that is excreted.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.