5 April 2002

Conference date for BSAS nutrition report

A BRITISH Society of Animal Science initiative, reviewing nutritional standards for feeding livestock, will present its initial recommendations at a conference in York next week.

One of the conference sessions will reveal new practical recommendations for sheep and dairy producers, says BSAS press officer Janice Harland. "But mineral and vitamin nutrition for pigs requires further research before recommendations can be made by the group."

This initiative was established by BSAS in response to a view that some UK standards are out of date. "In certain areas of nutrition, livestock are still being fed according to information based on trials carried out 30-40 years ago."

Standards for sheep are particularly poor, with energy requirements based on applying cattle data to sheep. In addition, magnesium for dairy cows has not been researched for more than 30 years, despite big changes in dairy cow genetics and the introduction of new magnesium supplements, says Dr Harland.

One of the recommendations is to make existing up-to-date information available to producers. "But what is the best way to get this across to producers? It could be made part of a web-site or simply a printed report."

The group also invites comments on whether standard energy, protein and mineral values are useful for rationing, or whether individual herd and flock requirements are too far from the average to be meaningful.

Producers with any comments should contact Dr Harland (01285-810250 or e-mail HARLANDHALL@compuserve.com). &#42