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J Anim Sci. 1996 Dec;74(12):3082-102.

Ruminant nutrition from an environmental perspective: factors affecting whole-farm nutrient balance.

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Department of Dairy and Poultry Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611-0920, USA.


Nutrient budgeting strategies focus primarily on recycling manure to land as fertilizer for crop production. Critical elements for determining environmental balance and accountability require knowledge of nutrients excreted, potential nutrient removal by plants, acceptable losses of nutrients within the manure management and crop production systems, and alternatives that permit export of nutrients off-farm, if necessary. Nutrient excretions are closely related to nutrient intake and can be predicted by subtracting predicted nutrients in food animal products exported from the farm from total nutrients consumed. Intensifying crop production with double- or triple-cropping often is necessary for high-density food animal production units to use manure without being forced to export manure or fertilizer coproducts to other farms. Most manures are P-rich relative to N largely because of 1) relatively large losses of volatilized NH3, most of it converted from urea in urine, 2) denitrification losses in soil under wet, anaerobic conditions, and 3) ability of many crops to luxury-consume much more N than P. Most soils bind P effectively and P usually is permitted to accumulate, allowing for budgets to be based on N. However, P budgeting may be required in regions where surface runoff of P contributes to algae growth and eutrophication of surface waters or where soil P increases to levels of concern. Research is needed to determine whether dietary P allowances can be lowered without detriment to animal production or health in order to lower P intake and improve N:P ratios in manure relative to fertilization needs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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