Interview: Reducing nutrients

New regulations on feedstuff with greatly reduced N and P levels

The DLG Working Group on Feed and Feeding has published new regulations on feedstuff with greatly reduced N and P levels. Lucia Schulze Steinmann, AGRAVIS Pigs Product Manager, explains the effects for farmers and how feed concepts contribute to nutrient reduction in an interview.

What do the regulations mean in detail?

Schulze Steinmann:Farms with very large cattle herds but little acreage are looking for a solution to reduce their excess nutrients. The best way to achieve this reduction is to supply pigs with the precise nutrients they require with raw protein and phosphorous. Eliminating added extras means farmers keep an eye on other influencing factors. There needs to be an even greater focus on the pigs themselves and their rearing environment. Age, sex, animal health and yield potential are just a few examples of elements which have an influence on animals’ needs. In implementing the concept, farmers need to ensure intensive animal care and observation to detect signals from pigs in good time.

What changes are there to the AGRAVIS feed concepts?

Schulze Steinmann:We are pioneers in nutrient reduction with our “Feeding the future” programme. This evaluation system ensures that needs for digestible amino acids and digestible phosphorus are covered at each production stage. The optimisation of digestible phosphorus and nine digestible amino acids is crucial and enables farmers to implement the new regulations in a targeted way. Olympig complete feed, Fisopan supplement feed and VitaMiral mineral feed allow us to supply pigs with feed with a greatly reduced nitrogen and phosphorous content. It is important for self-mixers to be completely familiar with the ingredients in their components to optimise the mix precisely.

We might ask why nitrogen and phosphorous content is not reduced even further.

Schulze Steinmann:There are physiological limits to nitrogen and phosphorous reduction. Pigs don’t need protein but they do need amino acids. The raw protein content can be reduced until an amino acid restricts protein synthesis or growth. Leucin, Isoleucin and Histedin cannot be added as free amino acids at the moment and they thus establish a limit. AGRAVIS ran a trial to study this issue a short time ago. In the case of an extreme reduction (raw protein at 30 to 50 kilograms of live weight: 13.5 per cent; raw protein at 50 to 120 kilograms of live weight: 11.5 percent), the tested animals showed a reduced daily growth rate (40 grams per day), especially during preparatory feeding and slow fattening, and less meat and correspondingly more fat on carcasses at a later stage. The higher feed costs, including added valine and tryptophan, and the reduced slaughter value generated extra costs of seven euros per animal. Farmers cannot produce efficiently under such circumstances. It is our aim to supply fattening pigs with the precise nutrients they require, so that they excrete as little nitrogen and phosphorous in faeces and urine as possible, yet still grow at an optimum rate.

Carcass qualities in comparison

Parameters kg Turbo control Trial with N & P extremely reduced
Carcass weight kg 94.9 95.1
Index point per kg carcass weight kg 1.011 0.996
Ham weight % 18.9 18.5
Belly lean meat content mm 59.7 57.8
Fat content mm 12.9 14.3
Meat content mm 69.2 66.8
Feed costs per animal 50.13 (+4.20) 54.33
Slaughter value per animal 135.35 (-2.78) 132.57
Surplus above feed 85.23 (-6.98) 78.25