Farmers in animal agriculture know that, just like people, animals require dietary phosphorus for healthy lives, but that a portion of that phosphorus ends up in wastes. Farmers recycle much of this waste when they apply phosphorus-rich manure to fertilize their crops, but they can over-apply phosphorus when trying to meet fertility recommendations for nitrogen. This has resulted in phosphorus traveling with the rain and irrigation water from fields to the waterways that surrounding increasingly concentrated feeding operations.
To address this issue, the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance has adopted a set of sector goals:
- Increase the nitrogen-to-phosphorus ratio in animal wastes. This is accomplished through measures ranging from adjusting feed regimes to extracting phosphorus from manure and litter, ideally while producing biogas and other co-products.
- Improve transportability of manure by pyrolyzing/drying/pelletizing it and optimizing transportation logistics. This permits export of phosphorus from overburdened watersheds to areas of phosphorus depletion.
- Recover and reuse more nutrients from animal byproducts.
- Expand participation in water quality trading platforms to help develop efficient markets for phosphorus recovery.
The Alliance has developed a state-by-state landscape analysis of biosolids and manure land application regulations as a resource for the phosphorus management community. We are also collating this information with publicly available datasets to produce a graphical, online tool for scenario development purposes using the ArcGIS Story Maps platform. Learn more about the biosolids and manure regulatory data in our webinar on the project. Get more information on converting animal waste to worth in our Phosphorus Forum panel discussion.
The membership of the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance invites organizations in the Animal Agriculture Sector to participate in our activities to further the sector goals.