Research Sought On Metals In Feed

The Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative plans to back new research on sources and levels of metals in livestock’s feed, drinking water and manure, plus those metals’ effects on crops and soils.

“Research suggests that most metals in manure are present at such low levels that it would take over a century of manure application for them to reach levels that pose an environmental problem,” the MLMMI said in a request for proposals (RFP) issued April 1.

“However, depending on the livestock management system, some metals may be present at higher levels and may accumulate in the soil more quickly.”

The MLMMI said it has already “briefly examined the issue further and found four key “metals of concern”: selenium, copper and zinc, which are added to animal feeds, and boron, which “appears to be elevated in manure due to naturally elevated levels in livestock drinking water.”

Research eligible for backing by the MLMMI under this latest RFP would answer the questions: What are the concentrations of metals found in the manures of swine, poultry, beef and dairy? What are the sources of these metals? Are metals in stock water of concern? What effect does repeated land application of manure with “elevated” metals have on soil and crop quality? What will the long-term effects of metals in manure be on crop and soil quality, and will “mitigation practices” be needed?

The RFP’s deadline for applications is June 15.

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