Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

A theoretical analysis of how the protein requirements of livestock in England and Wales might be best met - IS0208

Inefficient utilisation of dietary nutrients (particularly nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)) results in the excretion of N and P in varying forms, with adverse environmental consequences. It may be possible to markedly reduce N and P emissions from UK agriculture, whilst sustaining livestock productivity, by changing livestock rationing as well as changing the crops on which this depends. In particular, it is expected that energy:protein ratios of feeds should be increased (made possible by improving protein quality), and that crop genotypes (both species and varieties) could be selected to match these requirements, along with reducing N fertiliser inputs. In an increasingly globilised market for feed materials, the opportunities and costs (environmental and economic) associated with changes in feeds used for livestock production need to be considered. This study will identify and analyse the environmental and economic implications of different options to meet the N and P needs of livestock in England while minimising emissions, particularly of N, P and methane, to the environment. The results will inform Government policy to identify efficient and competitive agricultural systems that sustain and enhance the environment.
The overall objective of the project is to identify and analyse the economic and environmental implications of the options for the supply of the protein needs of livestock in England. This will be achieved by means of the following sub-objectives.

Sub-objective 1: To assess the protein and phosphorus requirements and supply for the current UK livestock population. Using nutritional models, estimate supply relative to requirements, and characterise the environmental consequences of any oversupply.

Sub-objective 2: To evaluate the scope for minimising any protein or phosphorus surplus by changes in
Cropping and fertiliser use
Livestock nutrition
Imported/manufactured feeds

Sub-objective 3: To evaluate the effects of different scenarios identified in Sub-objective 2 on
Land use
Economic impact (farm and national level)

Sub-objective 4: To identify likely trends in livestock numbers; using nutritional models evaluate the impact of these on protein and phosphorus requirements. Assess the environmental and economic effect of these changes on the different feeding, management and cropping scenarios identified in sub-objective 2.

Sub-objective 5: To provide an overall assessment of the scenarios identified in this study, their likely environmental and economic impact and their potential uptake by the industry.
Project Documents
• Final Report : A theoretical analysis of how the protein requirements of livestock in England and Wales might be best met   (280k)
• Final Report - Annex : A theoretical analysis of how the protein requirements of livestock in England and Wales might be best met   (1552k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2003

To: 2005

Cost: £74,184
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Reading, Institute of Grassland and Environment Research (IGER), ADAS UK Ltd.
Arable Farming              
Environmental Protection              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Production