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Can we reduce our current levels of Phosphorous in pig diets without affecting their performance and health?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ilias Kyriazakis, Ollie Szyszka, Dr Elizabeth Stockdale, Simon Wilson, Emerita Professor Sandra Edwards


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Scientific research suggests that phosphorus (P) levels in pig diets can be reduced in line with recommended standards without adverse effects on performance. However, pig nutritionists and veterinarians continue to recommend excessive P levels in diets to provide safety margins; this contributes to the environmental impact of the pig sector in terms of diffuse P pollution. The aim of this project was to demonstrate on-farm, that dietary P can be reduced without negative effects on pig performance and health. In a series of demonstration trials, different pig classes (growing/finishing pigs or dry sows) were fed different levels of dietary P; one of the treatments included levels below the recommended P requirement standards for the particular pig class. There were no effects of treatment on the performance of growing or finishing pigs, suggesting that P dietary levels can be safely reduced. There were no effects of treatment on the reproductive performance and bone strength of sows; these results should be interpreted with caution as they are from one reproductive cycle only. Additional trials on sows over two reproductive cycles are currently ongoing. Preliminary analysis on the environmental impact of the above treatments suggest that the labile P levels in sow excreta did not differ between treatments; the soil labile P levels showed a general increase caused by pig occupation. Environmental impact analysis is in the process of being completed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kyriazakis I, Szyszka O, Stockdale EA, Johnson A, Wilson S, Penlington N, Edwards SA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The Pig Journal

Year: 2013

Volume: 68

Pages: 97-101

Print publication date: 01/05/2013

ISSN (print): 1352-9749

Publisher: Pig Veterinary Society