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Demonstrating the environmental and economic implications of reducing phosphorus excretion in pigs - WQ0215

Description
The aim of this project is to demonstrate the dietary phosphorus (P) can be reduced without negative effects on pig health and performance. This would lead to reductions in diffuse P levels in manures and effluent and loads to the environment. Scientific research has strongly suggested that P levels in pig diets can be reduced in line with recommended requirements without adverse effects on performance. However, pig farmers continue to use excessive levels P in diets to provide safety margins; this contributes to the environmental impact of the pig sector in terms of diffuse P pollution. For this reason a demonstration and knowledge transfer (KT) is required to scope the level to which sources of P from pig excreta could be reduced by manipulation of pig diets.

The overall project aim will be achieved through the following specific Objectives:
Objective1. To develop and deliver a KT plan in association with the British Pig Executive (BPEX) KT team to disseminate knowledge to the pig sector beyond the demonstration activities performed below, and facilitate uptake.
Objective 2. To establish the levels of reduction in P intake that could be achieved in pig diets without compromising animal performance, health and welfare. A recently BPEX-commissioned review on the P requirements of pigs will be the starting point of this exercise.
Objective 3. To carry out demonstration trials in commercial facilities that will establish the scope for reducing P levels in finisher pig and outdoor sow diets without compromising performance, health and welfare. Finisher pigs (above 40kg liveweight) and (outdoor) gestating sows are the two classes of pigs that have been traditionally oversupplied with dietary P and will be the target of this Objective.
Objective 4. To establish how reductions in dietary P intake relate to levels of P excretion under commercial practice by monitoring P levels in excreta, manures and/or soils in finisher pig and sow systems. The expectation is that reduction in dietary P will lead to reductions in P levels in manure and/or soils in these systems.
Objective 5. To estimate the risks of diffuse P pollution to the environment from a range of pig production systems through simulation modelling. An existing diffuse P pollution simulation model will be validated using data collected at the farm sites (Objective 3) and then used to estimate the impacts of a reduction in dietary P inputs under different conditions such as different soils, different climatic conditions and different levels of manure application, in order to investigate the consequences of reducing P in pig excreta on P run off.

The project will develop in close collaboration with BPEX, major UK feed compounders and pig farmers in order to develop work plans, promote the delivery, transfer and uptake of knowledge in the pig sector. These groups of Stakeholders are supporting the proposal with generous 'in kind' contributions. BPEX is the UK specialist organisation for KT activities to the pig sector in the UK.
Objective
Demonstrating the Environmental and Economic Implications of Reducing Phosphorus Excretion in Pigs

The overall aim of this proposal is to provide evidence to demonstrate that dietary P levels can be reduced below current commercial norms without negative effects on pig health and performance, and at the same time reduce diffuse P levels in manure and effluent and consequently diffuse pollution loads of P to the environment.

Objective 1. To develop and deliver a KT plan in association with the BPEX KT team to disseminate knowledge to the pig sector beyond the demonstration activities preformed below, and facilitate uptake.
Objective 2. To establish the levels of reductions in P intake that could be achieved in pig diets without compromising animal performance, health and welfare.
Objective 3. To carry out demonstration trials that will establish the scope for reducing P levels in finisher pig and outdoor sow diets without compromising performance, health and welfare.
Objective 4. To establish how reductions in P intake relate to levels of P excretion under commercial practice by monitoring or estimating P levels in excreta, manures and/or soils in finisher pig and sow systems.
Objective 5. To estimate the potential reduction in risks of diffuse P pollution to the environment from a range of pig production systems through modelling.

Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : evid4WQ0215   (6700k)
• ROAME Document : WQ01   (200k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2010

To: 2013

Cost: £389,175
Contractor / Funded Organisations
BOCM Pauls Ltd, University - Newcastle, Tulip Supply Group
Keywords
Agriculture              
Livestock              
Phosphorus              
Pigs              
Sustainable Farming and Food Science              
Water Quality              
Water Quality and Use