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Appropriateness of nutrient budgets for environmental risk assessment: A case study of outdoor pig production

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Sandra Edwards


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Outdoor pig production has expanded rapidly in recent years due to economic and market pressures. Recent research has shown that a high degree of heterogeneity in soil nutrient distribution can occur as a result of this agricultural system. This study examined the consequences of dietary manipulation on total excretion and spatial distribution of N and P in soils under outdoor sow production. Small areas of land chosen for excretion received excessive amounts of both N and P. Values equivalent to up to 2861 kg ha -1 of soluble N were observed in preferred areas, up to 90% of this was in organic forms. Within 15 months, applied nutrients were sufficient to saturate the soil profile in preferred areas with respect to P and produce areas that represented a significant environmental risk. Lowering the amount of N and P in the diet has potential to reduce environmental impact but cannot eliminate spatial variability. The use of simple input output nutrient budgeting approaches may underestimate losses of N and P as they cannot account for mineralisation rates of organic nutrients excreted or for P saturation in areas preferentially used for excretion. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Watson CA, Atkins T, Bento S, Edwards AC, Edwards SA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Agronomy

Year: 2003

Volume: 20

Issue: 1-2

Pages: 117-126

Print publication date: 01/12/2003

ISSN (print): 1161-0301

ISSN (electronic): 1873-7331

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/S1161-0301(03)00081-9


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