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Swine manure may help the environment

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. This is the conclusion in a VOA Special English Agricultural Report.

Pig farming produces large quantities of waste, some of which has nutrient value which can be used on crops as a fertiliser, but not all manure contents are ideal for crop use.

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, and is expelled in the manure, which in turn damages the environment.

Researchers, therefore monitored different swine diets and the resulting effects of the slurry used on crops, and concluded that 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.

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• VOA Special English

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