Thursday, October 25, 2012

Superphosphates – not in mink feed!

An odd question came up in reference to a comment made in the media by someone concerned about phosphorus from mink ranches. That person indicated that mink ranchers put superphosphates in mink feed, suggesting that it was a major source of water course pollution from mink ranches.
I’d like to help set the record straight. Superphosphate is not put in feeds that I'm aware of. I'd be very surprised to find someone trying it. It is a chemical fertilizer for crops and gardens.
However, phosphoric acid is a common additive, used as a preservative and to reduce pH at certain times of the year.  pH below 6 will help reduce the microbial load in ingredients like fish, chicken, and pork byproducts. It has been used by generations of ranchers across the country and is very effective for its intended purpose. The amount of acid required to drop the pH is not very high (0.4-0.5 % of the wet ration).  Phosphoric acid is a food/feed ingredient approved for use for humans as well as livestock. Check the label on your can of Pepsi! 
Years ago, phosphates were the buzz word for detergents in water pollution.  I suspect someone  confused the term phosphoric acid with superphosphate, probably because the term superphosphate has such negative connotations with regards to water. If superphosphates per se have been found to be polluting the watercourses in south western Nova Scotia, then home and cottage owners, landscapers, golf courses, tree nurseries, parks and other users of chemical fertilizers better review their fertility programs!  
Definition of Superphospate:  

superphosphate [ˌsuːpəˈfɒsfeɪt]: n 1. (Chemistry / Elements & Compounds) a mixture of the diacid calcium salt of orthophosphoric acid Ca(H2PO4)2 with calcium sulphate and small quantities of other phosphates: used as a fertilizer 2. (Chemistry / Elements & Compounds) a salt of phosphoric acid formed by incompletely replacing its acidic hydrogen atoms; acid phosphate; hydrogen phosphate

Trust that helps to set the record straight.


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