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Image showing irrigation sprayer


1st March 2016

To what extent could water quality be improved by reducing the phosphorous content in animal feed?

Cows feeding; Cover images courtesy of: Richard Gooday, ADAS

The latest River Basin Management Plan (RBMP; Scottish Government, 2015) states that 16% of waterbodies are below good status for water quality, and 246 waterbodies face rural diffuse pressures. Rural diffuse pollution has been identified as the number one water quality issue. Previous water quality monitoring data in Scotland found 7% of water bodies were failing to reach good status for phosphorus (Scottish Government, 2009), although this is based on phosphorus standards which have since been revised. Agriculture contributes a significant proportion of the phosphorus loss. Controlling this loss is an important approach to improving water quality in Scotland.