Sapropel – a natural treasure trove for economic growth

Author: "Our Agriculture" magazine / № 10 / May 2021 /
English Translation: DeepL Translate
"Our Agriculture" magazine / № 10 / May 2021
One of the priority tasks of the Belarusian agro-industrial complex is to increase the efficiency of production by reducing the cost of agricultural products. This is done by maximizing the use of local raw materials and resources, reducing the import of expensive protein and vitamin-mineral complexes, and thus increasing the profitability of the livestock industry. One of the available and effective solutions is the introduction of Sapropel additives into the ration.
Sapropel (lake silt) is the centuries-old bottom sediments in freshwater bodies of water, which were formed from dead aquatic vegetation, remains of living organisms, plankton, particles of soil humus. Due to the long process of formation sapropel, as an organic substance, acquires a number of unique properties.
Grigorii PEREKHOD, head of the production section of ALC "Agrosemproduct"
head of the production section of ALC "Agrosemproduct"
On the territory of the republic there are about 1900 lakes of more than 1 hectare each, formed by the action of glaciers. The largest resources are concentrated in the Vitebsk region and in the north of the Minsk region, as well as in Grodno, Ivatsevichi, Zhitkovichi and other districts.

One of the deposits "Udhovda" is located in Pruzhany district. The extracted raw material is of unique quality - there are no analogues with such a high content of active substances in Belarus. AGROSEMPRODUCT" ALC is engaged in extraction and processing of organic-mineral raw materials.

Grigorii Perekhod, the head of the production department of "AGROSEMPRODUCT", will tell us why sapropel is worthy of special attention.
Today, in order to increase the efficiency of livestock breeding, the technology of animal housing is improved, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, all kinds of feed additives are purchased in large quantities. But this pleasure is not cheap: the average price for the same premixes of acceptable quality - from 10 thousand dollars in the equivalent per ton. Although, if we take the vitamin and mineral composition, there is a decent and affordable alternative - a feed additive of sapropel, which costs about 100 dollars per ton in equivalent. When added to the composition of feed, it can replace 1.2 to 6% of grain, depending on the type of animal (poultry, pigs, cattle). Given that the average market cost of grain is about $250/ton equivalent, the savings are very substantial.
Grigorii Perekhod
Cows in a stall
The uniqueness of the sapropel deposit "Udhovda" and the feed additive "Sapropel Organic" produced on its basis consists in the presence of a large number of humic substances: the mass fraction of humic acids in the dry substance of sapropel is 51,3%, fulvic acids - 12,1%.

In a complex combination with fulvic acid, humic acids form a bioavailable complex containing more than 70 different components: minerals, amino acids, vitamins, natural polysaccharides, sterols, hormones, fatty acids, natural antioxidants with antibiotic properties.

The medicinal and prophylactic properties of humic substances lie in their ability to coat the intestinal mucosa of animals and reduce or completely prevent the absorption of toxic metabolites after infections, as well as when feeding low-quality feed.
Domestic pigs on a farm
The humic substances in Sapropel Organic" feed additive bind on average 94% of pathogenic E. coli and 82% of endotoxins. Bound humic acid bacteria and toxins are naturally eliminated from the body of animals and birds.

The feed additive "Sapropel Organic" has a strong antibiotic effect, stimulates the immune system of animals, reduces the incidence of postpartum pathology and morbidity, increases the hepatoprotective effect - reduces the signs of cytolysis and cholestasis, provides a high content of antioxidant vitamins in the blood of animals - vitamin A and vitamin E. When using the feed additive "Sapropel Organic" in the diet of cows, the cases of mastitis are reduced by 96%. The feed additive is effective in the treatment of chronic botulism in cows, in the treatment of hepatosis in lactating cows and calves during the lactation period. Humic substances of the feed additive "Sapropel organic" reduce the severity of hepatolysis, normalize the state of protein, carbohydrate, immune, vitamin and mineral metabolism, stimulate the formation of propionic acid, which synthesizes up to 60% of glucose, reduce the concentration of isobutyric and isovaleric acids, while reducing the concentration of ammonia.
Can you cite some of the results of these studies?
Of course. Let's start with cattle. In 2020, the Republican Unitary Enterprise "Scientific and Research Center of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus on Animal Husbandry" under the direction of the head of the laboratory of cattle feeding and nutritional physiology, Doctor of Agricultural Sciences, Professor Vasily Fedorovich Radchikov, conducted a series of experiments at the state enterprise "ZhodinoAgroPlemElita" of the Smolevichi district. The tests showed high efficiency of Sapropel additives: as soon as they were introduced into the ration, milk yield and average daily gain of cattle increased. One of the reasons for this was the improved feed conversion ratio. It's no secret that soybean, canola or sunflower meal is only 50% assimilated. With Sapropel additives, protein digestibility reaches 70-75%. After one month of research it was proved that metabolizable energy expenditure per 1 kg of milk decreased by 7-12%, crude protein - by 5-9%. At the same time, the productivity of the milking herd increased by 10-15%, and the fat and protein content of the milk increased. The incidence of mastitis decreased by 96%, the number of somatic cells in milk decreased by 3.5 times.

The standard feed consisted of mixed feed "60 B" for dairy cows, silage and hay mixture, hay and green mass, in the experimental groups a sapropelic additive was introduced instead of some cereals (4% - II g., 6% - III g.). After 3 months, the average daily milk yield increased, fat and protein content in milk increased, and the content of somatic cells decreased sharply - by 4 times (Table 1).

TABLE 1: Productivity of milking cattle

Productivity of cows - 6 tons per year, mid-lactation
As a result, the farm began to deliver extra milk. The economic effect is also noteworthy. With the reduction of the cost of milk by 6.4 and 4.3%, respectively, the additional profit for the products of the experimental groups amounted to 144.2 and 126.5 rubles per cow. Taking into account that Sapropel also replaces up to 6% of grain in the feed, we can talk about an improvement in the economic efficiency of milk production.

Feeding calves with KR-2 compound feed with addition of sapropel in the amount of 4 and 6% increased the live weight gain by 3.4 and 3.9%, while reducing the cost of growth by 1.8 and 0.3% (Table 2).

Table 2: Changes in live weight and average daily growth of young animals when adding sapropel to KR-2 mixed fodder

Additional profit from each head was 5.44 rubles. (group II) and 0.91 rubles. (group III). When sapropel was added to mixed fodder KR-3, the additional profit per animal was 3.66 rubles (group II) and 1.86 rubles (group III). (group II) and 1,86 rubles (group III). (group III).
What is the secret of such an effect of Sapropel on the body of cows and calves?
It's all about the unique composition of the organic sapropel deposit "Udhovda" and, in particular, the combination of two types of different chemical composition of humic substances, enriched with amino acids and polyunsaturated organic acids, which, by forming complex organic-mineral complexes, significantly increase the digestibility of nutrients, improve the fermentation process in the rumen and stimulate the immune system of animals.
What are the results of Sapropel when fed to pigs?
In 2020, the head of the pig feeding laboratory of RUE "NPC NAS RB on animal husbandry", candidate of agricultural sciences Linkevich Sergey Aleksandrovich conducted experiments in the conditions of the school farm on pig breeding SE "ZhodinoAgroPlemElita" of Smolevichi district. In the course of the research, a higher increase in live weight was observed in the groups that had sapropel added to their rations. The pigs were more willing to eat mixed feed and were more active. There were no sick or stunted animals. Positive dynamics were also observed in the economic calculations (Tables 3-4).

Table 3: Group of weaner piglets

Group I - control, received a standard diet of SK-16; Group II - mixed fodder with 1% sapropel, Group III - 2% sapropel. There were 20 animals in each group. Duration of the experiment - 640 feeding days.

Table 4: Growing and fattening groups

* Group I - control, received a standard diet of SK-21; Group II - mixed fodder with 4% sapropel. There were 22 heads in each group. Duration of the experiment - 704 feeding days.
** Group I - control, received a standard diet of CK-26; Group II - CK-26 with 6% sapropel. There were 15 heads in each group. Duration of the experiment - 408 feeding days.
What made these results possible?
As in the case of cattle, sapropel added to the feed stimulates the protective powers of the pig's body and improves the immune function of the animals. As a result, the frequency of digestive disorders is significantly reduced, acute intoxication is weakened. At its regular feeding increases resistance of pigs to toxic hepatitis, stomach ulcers, hypercholesterolemia. In addition, the supplement helps to prevent the transmission of foot-and-mouth disease in pigs. Interestingly, Sapropel significantly improves the quality of meat by increasing its marbling and reducing the fat layer on the back.
What method of sapropel processing is used in ALC "AGROSEMPRODUCT"?
Traditionally, drum dryers are used for processing. But in this case, the content of bound moisture is not taken into account. As a result - degradation of vitamins, minerals, i.e. all value is lost. To avoid this, ALC "AGROSEMPRODUCT" uses vertical dryers. The point is that the supplied heat is regulated by an air mixer and goes sparingly into the drying chamber where the temperature does not exceed 140 ° C. This allows not to destroy the nutrients and at the same time to carry out effective drying to a certain level of humidity. Therefore, sapropel of ALC "AGROSEMPRODUCT" has not only high quality, but also unique properties. Nature invented everything for us. The only thing is to use these resources in agricultural production.
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