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Survey planned to identify strategies used to reduce phosphorus levels in swine manure

The vice-president research and innovation with the Canadian International Grains Institute says new strategies to manage phosphorus levels in swine diets are helping pork producers to reduce the volume phosphorus ending up in the environment while cutting production costs.

Legislation coming down this fall in Manitoba will restrict the amount of phosphorous that can be applied to the soil from livestock production.

The Canadian International Grains Institute is working with the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative to develop a survey to determine what feed companies are doing to manage phosphorus.

Dr. Rex Newkirk, the vice-president of research and innovation with CIGI, notes over the past 20 years a great deal of work has been done to find ways to reduce the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen in manure while also reducing production costs.

The idea of the survey is to go and work directly one on one with feed companies to determine what technology are they using, how are the formulating their diets, what kind of safety margins do they have in the phosphorus, what types of levels of phosphorus availability are they assuming with the enzyme so that at the end of the survey we can determine, are there ways we can further reduce the phosphorus in the manure and manage this by using some of the work, that has been done over the last number of years.

The outcome will be an understanding of where we’re at, giving us a benchmark of what the current practices are to so we know if we’re making progress in the future.

At the same time an offer has been made by the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative to bring in an expert that can do seminars and talk about how to manage phosphorus in the diets and in the manure and for those that participate in the survey to have one on one consultation sessions looking at their exact data and helping them find ways to both reduce cost and phosphorus so it’s a win win I think for everybody.

Dr. Newkirk expects the various aspects of the project to be complete by fall.

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