The endogenous faecal loss of P has been investigated in growing lambs given diets either grossly deficient, moderately deficient or just adequate in P. This loss was found to increase in direct relation to the increased P intake, in spite of the high P requirements of the deficient animals, which suggests that some increased loss with increased P intake is inevitable. Results throw doubt on the validity of the assumption made by the Agricultural Research Council (1980) in their calculations of P requirements, that the endogenous faecal loss of P is maintained at a constant level equal to that which occurs at zero P intake, until requirements are met.
Even on the diet which was, according to Agricultural Research Council (1980) recommendations, just adequate in P, lambs were unable to retain the expected amount of P commensurate with their growth. This inability to retain P was not due to a failure of P absorption, since the efficiency of absorption from this diet was higher than the value used by the Agricultural Research Council (1980) in their calculations. Rather, it must have been due to an inevitable endogenous faecal loss of P that was considerably higher than the value assumed by the Agricultural Research Council (1980).
It is suggested that in future the value of endogenous faecal loss used in calculations of P requirements is the minimum one that allows a particular requirement to be achieved.
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