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Feed management practices to reduce manure phosphorus excretion in dairy cattle

Kebreab, E., Hansen, A. V., Leytem, A. B.
Advances in animal biosciences 2013 v.4 no.s1 pp. 37
agricultural runoff, biogeochemical cycles, cattle feeding, cattle manure, dairy cattle, diet, digestibility, energy, energy content, excretion, feces, feeds, fertilizer rates, infiltration (hydrology), margin of safety, metabolizable energy, microbial physiology, milk, nutrient management, nutrition physiology, overfeeding, pasture management, pastures, phosphorus, phosphorus fertilizers, physiological state, phytases, phytic acid, pollution, pollution control, rotational grazing, rumen, rumen microorganisms, soil
Phosphorus (P) is an essential mineral that needs to be supplied in sufficient quantities for maintenance and growth and milk production in dairy cattle. However, over 60% of the P consumed can be excreted in faeces with a potential to cause environmental pollution. Concern over higher levels of P in intensively managed livestock systems has led to legislation such as the Water Framework Directive in the European Union. In this manuscript, several methods of reducing P pollution are discussed. A major source of environmental P pollution has been overfeeding P mainly due to addition of ‘safety margin’ over the animal's requirement and concerns related to fertility. Matching the animal's requirement and feeding in groups so that animals at the same physiological status are fed according to their requirement has a potential to reduce P excretion significantly. P can also be reduced by matching available P with the metabolizable energy content of the diet because more P can be incorporated into milk when P is utilized by rumen microbes, which are limited by energy. Plants contain phytate bound P that need to be broken up before they can be absorbed by the animal. Although ruminants can digest phytate, use of phytase enzyme could help either directly by acting on phytate P or improvement of feed digestibility. Pasture management can lead to improved nutrient cycling, particularly if the soil is deficient in P. However, overfertilizing pasture could result is higher runoff of dissolved reactive P. Management practices that leave adequate forage residue on the surface such as rotational grazing will improve infiltration and decrease runoff, reducing nutrient losses.