The German Feed Association (DVT) has analysed current feeding methods in pig fattening and broiler fattening in a comprehensive study. For this purpose, surveys were carried out in member companies by a working group of animal nutrition experts. The results clearly show that the reduction of nitrogen emissions overall and per kilogramme of meat produced has been convincingly achieved within the last 20 years. Peter Radewahn, DVT Managing Director: "We are optimistic and believe that the reduction targets for ammonia emissions set by the legislator are achievable."

The background to the study and the elaborate calculations is the statutory requirement set by the EU NEC Directive (National Emission Ceilings Directive) or the revised version of the TA-Luft (Technical Instructions on Air Quality Control) to reduce Germany's ammonia emissions by 29 per cent by 2030 compared to the reference year 2005. Since about 95 per cent of these emissions are attributed to animal husbandry, a particularly drastic reduction is required in this area. The reduction of ammonia emissions from animal husbandry can be achieved primarily by feeding less protein and thus less nitrogen without negatively affecting the performance of the farm animals in terms of meat production and feed conversion. "With the most modern means of ration design, the use of free amino acids and phase feeding specifically geared to the animals' needs, this reduction of nitrogen input into livestock is possible and is being realised in this way," the association experts state in their report.

Since current and realistic data on the actual feeding of livestock has been lacking up to now, the DVT decided to collect feeding data from member companies. From the data obtained, experts calculated the excretions of protein and resulting nitrogen. "We are confident that this provides an updated and realistic basis to prove that the ammonia reduction target can be met without even having to discuss a reduction in livestock," says Radewahn.

The expert group has determined that in the past 20 years there has been a 22 per cent reduction in nitrogen emissions per kilogramme of pork produced in conventional pig fattening. The extrapolation to the year 2030 suggests a further decrease of 32 percent in total. Similar data can be found in the analysis of broiler fattening: by the year 2030, the extrapolation of nitrogen emissions suggests a reduction of 47 percent compared to the reference year 2000 in relation to the kilogram of live weight.

This success is due to the intensive interaction of numerous important components: the implementation of research results in animal nutrition science and, based on this, further optimised ration design, the development of free amino acids as highly innovative products, phase feeding, improved feed conversion, higher slaughter weights, improved preparation values and other parameters of breeding progress. The current studies on nitrogen emission from pig and broiler fattening are publicly available on the DVT website.