Research shows changing pigs' food may reduce phosphorus in the soil. Transcript of radio broadcast:
the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
Research shows that waste from pigs that
are fed a special kind of corn may help a farmer's crops. And it also may help the environment. Any farmer who raises swine knows that pigs
produce a lot of waste. This has both
good and bad effects. Swine waste has
nutrients like nitrogen that can help fertilize crops when it is placed on the
fields. But the manure contents may not
be what a crop needs. And removing too
much manure can be a big job.
Soil scientist Brian Wienhold said most of the
phosphorus in traditional corn fed to pigs is in the substance phytate. Pigs lack a chemical in their bodies to break
down phytate. Most of the phosphorus in
traditional corn feed passes through the animal without processing. It is expelled in the manure.
Placing the usual swine manure in the fields can increase
the phosphorus content of the ground.
And when rains cause the phosphorus to wash away, it can harm the environment.
But science may be able to solve the problem. A report on the subject recently appeared in
the publication Soil Science Society of America Journal. The researchers are
from the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture
and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
They tested fields not far from the
Nebraska cities of Lincoln and Hastings. They put three different substances on
the fields: chemical fertilizer, manure from swine fed traditional corn diets
and manure from swine fed low-phytate corn diets.
scientists then compared how much nitrogen and phosphorus were available in the
soil. They found that using slurry from
swine fed low-phytate corn diets resulted in slower build-up of phosphorus in
the soil. At the same time, it did not
reduce the availability of the phosphorus to the crops.
Other scientists also have
worked with low-phytate feed in recent years. For example, in research reported
in two thousand four, University of Kentucky researchers gave pigs and chicks
low-phytate feed. The substance phytase
was added to the feed. The researchers
said it helped break down the phytates.
that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn Watson.
To learn more about agriculture, go to voaspecialenglish.com for transcripts
and MP3 archives of our reports.