Meat and bone meal (MBM) contains mineral elements essential for all organisms, typically 6-8% Nitrogen (N) and 5-6% Phosphorus (P). Phosphorus is essentially short lived and non renewable. It is estimated that currently the worlds naturally occurring stocks of P will only last for 50-150 years. The amount of P in MBM corresponds to less than 10% of the P-requirement of the entire needs of German agriculture, or approximately a third of the requirement of mineral P-fertilisers.
Last years meat and bone meal production in Germany was 163 million kg, and in Italy 260 million kg, of this in Germany only 4% went into pet food, but in Italy an astonishing 22% went for pets. The current EU feeding prohibition represents a considerable waste problem, which then makes their inclusion in fertilisers attractive, because the price of disposal is approx. 200 EUR for burning every ton of.
Under EU law MBMs are assigned to the fertiliser type "organic NP-fertilisers". However compared with mineral fertilisers MBMs have the difficulty of calculating the mineralisation of N from proteins. N from animal remains works slowly, but it is still useful. This delayed effect of the organic bound N does not coincide with the plants N demand and the mobilisation of N from the fertiliser. So, total expected losses are higher and the degree of use of N from animal remains is approximately 10% less than with mineral N. It also has to be remembered that the soil fauna, mainly live on decomposition products of plant substances, and can be seen as "vegetarian". However predators in the food chain prefer MBM, so they would gain an ecological advantage and this would potentially alter the biodiversity of soil life.
22.02.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
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