Since phosphorus is an essential element for life, its usage and application across agricultural production systems requires great attention. Monogastric species such as pigs and poultry can significantly contribute to global food security but these animals remain highly dependent on the supply of mineral inorganic phosphorus in their feeds. Pig and poultry, which represent 70% of the global meat production, are also major phosphorus excretors and thus represent important sources of environmental phosphorus inputs.

“Farmer” – pigs and poultry in Acre, Brazil. Photo by Kate Evans/CIFOR via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

With regard to a sustainable agricultural phosphorus cycle, this study addresses aspects of feeding strategies and animal physiology (e.g., phase feeding, phosphorus conditioning, liquid feeding, phytase supplementation, genetics), soil agroecosystems (e.g., phosphorus cycling, phosphorus losses, phosphorus gains), reuse and recycling (e.g., manure, slaughter waste), measures of farmers’ economic performance (e.g., bio-economic models), and phosphorus governance/policy instruments (e.g., phosphorus quota, phosphorus tax).

To reconcile the economic and ecological sustainability of animal husbandry, the strategic objective of future research will be to provide solutions for a sufficient supply of high-quality animal products from resource-efficient and economically competitive agro-systems which are valued by society and preserve soil and aquatic ecosystems.