Notice board

19 days ago

Phosphorus Survey for UK Dairy Farmers, Nutritionists and Advisers

The University of Reading, in collaboration with Harper Adams University, is running a project aiming at investigating the potential to reduce phosphorus (P) losses from dairy farms, with consequent benefits for the environment and reduction of feeding costs. This project is a PhD studentship funded by AHDB Dairy.

Phosphorus loss is an important environmental issue: when manure rich in P is applied to land above the crops’ requirements, the excess P runs off into waterbodies, and contributes to water pollution, with degradation of quality and reduction in aquatic biodiversity. Overfeeding P increases its elimination in the dung, making manure even richer in P: this is a costly and unsustainable practice, as P is a limited global resource. An AHDB-funded survey of UK dairy farms showed that cows are generally fed P on average in excess of 20% of what is recommended to support optimum production and health: this excess reaches 30% in early lactating cows. In 2014 DEFRA identified that if we feed more closely to cow nutrient requirements (including P) the average UK dairy farmer could save £7700 annually. As research has shown overfeeding has no proven benefit but obvious negative consequences, both economic and environmental, why are we overfeeding phosphorus?

To help us answer this question we ask you to fill in the following online questionnaire, designed to gain your insight on what drives phosphorous overfeeding. This survey will take less than 25 minutes of your time but will provide valuable information for our research and for the next phase of the project, which will entail a calculation of the farm gate P balance in a sample of selected herds to identify best P management practices. If you know of a dairy farm interested in participating in phase II to have their farm gate P balance calculated and receive findings on best P management practice, please contact Brad Harrison Email:

Terms and Conditions
You have been selected through self-volunteering. Your identity will not be revealed to anyone other than the researchers conducting this survey. Participation is voluntary and you are free to withdraw any time before data is analysed (01/03/2019). If you wish to withdraw, please contact Bradley Harrison (details below) along with the reference you provide during online questionnaire.

All data will be stored securely in a locked computer or locked cupboard and will be destroyed at project end (no later than 01/12/2023). Findings will be published in the PhD thesis, AHDB reports and academic journals but this will not affect your anonymity. By completing this questionnaire, you are acknowledging that you understand these terms and conditions of participation in this study and that you consent to these terms

Thank you very much for taking time to take part in this survey


Link to the Farmer Questionnaire:


Link to the Nutritionist Questionnaire:


Link to the Agronomist / Adviser Questionnaire