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Photo of Demonstrating the environmental and economic implications for reducing phosphorus excretion in pigs

Ben Williams

Knowledge Transfer Senior Manager

AHDB Pork Knowledge Exchange

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Demonstrating the environmental and economic implications for reducing phosphorus excretion in pigs

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Research partner: Newcastle University 
Industrial partners: BQP, AHDB Pork and BOCM Pauls
This project is part funded by Defra 
Project duration: 2010 – 2013

 

Aims and objectives

  • To find out how much the phosphorus (P) content of pig diets can be reduced without compromising animal performance, health or welfare
  • To establish how reductions in P intake relate to levels of P excretion under commercial practice in finisher pig and sow systems
  • To estimate the potential reduction in risks of diffuse P pollution to the environment from a range of systems 

Findings to date

  • Results show that dietary P levels can be safely reduced in growing/finishing pig diets without a negative effect on performance
  • The data collected were unable to show significant change in the risk of P loss to the environment resulting from a reduction in total and digestible P in the diet of outdoor sows or of grower-finisher pigs
  • There were no adverse effects on the performance of sows in the first or second farrowing cycle when fed on a lower level of P throughout gestation
  • The absence of an interaction between parity and diet demonstrates that even younger sows are able to cope with lower levels of P in the diet without performance being affected under outdoor conditions 

Further information

Research into Action 15: Reducing phosphorus (P) levels in grower and finisher diets

Research into Action 16: Reducing phosphorus levels in gestating sow diets