Study to reduce faecal N and P excretion through feeding measures

    Project Details


    Main research question/goal
    How can we reduce the production of manure by cattle, pigs and poultry through feeding measures? The Flemish Land Agency (VLM) asks this question as preparation for the third generation management plans for river basins (2022-2027). The goal is to compile a maximum list of measures to reduce N and P excretion by cattle, pigs and poultry in order to improve water quality. ILVO has the expertise to evaluate the potential margin for improvement and the technical feasibility of the manure-reduction measures as well as to calculate the additional costs, which is an important factor. Hence, the research questions are: To what extent feed composition and efficiency can be further improved? Which techniques and strategies can be used and to what level crude protein and phosphorus content in the feed/ration can be lowered without affecting animal productivity. Which conditions have to fulfilled to achieve which manure reductions, and at what cost? What are the possible trade-offs?

    Research approach
    In order to accomplish this study in short term we make use of available databases, models, own research results and literature. Further, stakeholders from agricultural organizations and the animal feed sector are consulted at the start and at the end of the project (mid-January 2018) to ensure that up to date knowledge and experiences are integrated. During the first consultation the reference situation for the distinct animal categories is defined as concerns the applied animal requirement standards, the composition of the ration or feed with the corresponding animal performances. Then literature is surveyed concerning measures which could reduce N and P excretion. Finally, the cost of of achieving these reductions in practice are calculated for the most important categories, whereas the economic evaluation for the less important categories will be done in a qualitative manner.

    This project resulted in a report with a maximum list of feeding techniques and strategies per animal category with an estimation of the realistic improvement in terms of manure reduction as well as the associated costs. It also gives an indication of the feasibility of the measures in practice and points out possible stumbling blocks. VLM will use this report to present a survey of potential measures with additional costs to improve water quality as concerns N and P content. The Water Framework Directive will also visualize possible disproportionality of measures for certain sectors, so that Europe can take this into account when imposing measures and/or deadlines for some objectives.

    Funding provider(s)
    Vlaamse Landmaatschappij
    Effective start/end date26/10/1725/01/18