Are We Overfeeding Our Nutrients?

Ron Bazylo, Livestock Specialist, Swan River, MB

Many swine diets are formulated with nutrients far in excess of the NRC (National Research Council) recommendations. If these nutrients are not utilized by the pigs, they end up being excreted in the manure, which is eventually applied to our land base. This has been a problem in small countries, with millions of hogs and a small land base. Despite Manitoba's vast land base, we should be concerned that we do not apply manure in excessive amounts.

A study carried out by Cromwell in 1989 showed that the average university recommendation for phosphorus was 110-120% of the NRC (1988) requirements, whereas the range of industry recommendations was 120-130% of these requirements.

Excesses are used as a safety factor and to compensate for variations in feedstuffs. A new nutrient requirements publication has recently been released (1998) by the National Research Council. It contains a wealth of information as well as the latest recommendations. If you are interested in this publication, contact your nearest swine specialist.