Feed plan takes a bite out of farm nutrients

US - Many believe the best way to deal with the nutrients in manure is to keep them from coming out of the animal to begin with.

Here’s a thought worth chewing on: By better managing what goes in an animal’s mouth, scientists say they can reduce—sometimes dramatically—the amount of nutrients coming out the other end.

The potential nutrient reductions are not small potatoes, either.

Chickens, cows, cattle, hogs and turkeys in the Bay watershed churn out about 44 million tons of manure each year. Altogether, they are responsible for about a fifth of the nitrogen and phosphorus entering the Bay.

Researchers, farm advisers and water quality managers increasingly believe the best way to deal with those nutrients is to keep them from coming out of the animal to begin with.

When the Chesapeake Bay Commission last year reported on the six most cost-effective strategies for cleaning up all nutrient sources to the Bay, it ranked diet and feed adjustments second behind wastewater treatment plant upgrades.

“By far, the most cost-effective way to minimize the environmental impact of the large volumes of manure generated within the watershed is through adjusting feed formulation for poultry and livestock,” the report said.

Source: The Bay Journal
calendar icon 2 December 2005
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