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 production efficiency by reducing the cost of agricultural products. This is promoted by the maximum use of local raw materials and resources, which reduces the import of expensive protein and vitamin-mineral complexes and thus increases 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 with an area of more than 1 hectare each, formed by the action of the glacier. 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 of such a high content of active substances in Belarus. AGROSEMPRODUCT" ALC is engaged in extraction and processing of organic-mineral raw materials.

Why sapropel is worth special attention for livestock specialists, we talk to the head of the production section of "AGROSEMPRODUCT" Grigorii Perekhod.
- Today, in order to improve the efficiency of livestock breeding, the technology of animal housing is being improved, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, all kinds of feed additives are being 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 a ton in equivalent. When added to the composition of feed, it can replace 1.2 to 6% of the grain, depending on the type of animal (poultry, pigs, cattle). Given the average market cost of grain is about $250/tonne equivalent, the savings are very substantial.
Grigorii Perekhod
Cows in a stall
The uniqueness of sapropel deposit "Udhovda" and 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, which includes 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 envelop the intestinal mucosa of animals and reduce or completely prevent absorption of toxic products of metabolism after infection, as well as when feeding low-quality feed.
Domestic pigs on a farm
Humic substances of "Sapropel Organic" feed additive bind pathogenic E. coli by 94% on average, and endotoxins by 82%. Bound humic acid bacteria and toxins are removed from the body of animals and birds naturally.

Feed additive "Sapropel Organic" has strongly pronounced antibiotic effect, stimulates the immune system of animals, reduces the incidence of pathology and morbidity after childbirth, increases hepatoprotective effect - reducing signs of cytolysis and cholestasis, provides high content of antioxidant vitamins in blood of animals - vitamin A and vitamin E. When using the feed additive "Organic Sapropel" in the diet of cows, cases of mastitis are reduced by 96%. Feed additives are effective in treating cows for chronic botulism, treatment of hepatosis in lactating cows and calves during the dairy period of growth. Humic substances of 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 isovalerian 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" conducted a series of experiments under the guidance of the head of the laboratory of cattle feeding and physiology of nutrition, Doctor of Agricultural Sciences, Professor Vasily Fedorovich Radchikov in the State Enterprise "ZhodinoAgroPlemElita" of Smolevichi district. The tests showed high efficiency of sapropel additives: as soon as they were introduced into ration, milk yields and average daily gain of cattle increased. This was, among other reasons, because the feed conversion rate improved. It's no secret that soybean, rapeseed or sunflower meal is assimilated only by 50%. 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, milking herd productivity increased by 10-15% and the fat and protein content in milk increased. The incidence of mastitis decreased by 96%, the number of somatic cells in milk decreased by 3.5 times.

The standard diet included mixed fodder "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 grain (4% - II g., 6% - III g.). After 3 months, the average daily milk yield increased, the fat content 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

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 also attracts attention. 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 per cow amounted to 144.2 and 126.5 rubles. Taking into account that sapropel also replaces up to 6% of grain in the diet, we can talk about improving the economic efficiency of milk production.

Feeding calves with KR-2 mixed fodder with the addition of sapropel in the volume 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

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 KR-3 mixed fodder, additional profit per head 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 action of sapropel on the body of cows and calves?
- It's all about the unique composition of organic sapropel deposit "Udhovda" and especially 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 greatly enhance the digestibility of nutrients, improving the fermentation process in the rumen and stimulate the immune system in animals.
- What results did sapropel show when feeding 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. During the research, a higher increase in live weight was noted in the groups who had sapropel added to their rations. The pigs were more willing to eat mixed fodder and were more active. No sick and stunted animals were found. Positive dynamics was also observed in economic calculations (Tables 3-4).

Table 3: Group of weaner piglets

Table 3: Group of weaner piglets
Note: 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

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 introduced into the diet stimulates the protective forces of the body of pigs, improving the immune function of 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 prevent the transmission of foot and mouth disease in pigs. Interestingly, sapropel significantly improves meat quality by increasing its marbling and reducing the layer of ridge fat.
- What method of sapropel processing is used in ALC "AGROSEMPRODUCT"?
- Traditionally, drum dryers are used for processing. But in this case does not take into account the content of bound moisture. As a result - degradation of vitamins, minerals, i.e. all value is lost. To avoid this, the ALC "AGROSEMPRODUCT" use vertical dryer. The point is that the heat supplied is regulated by an air mixer and sparingly goes into the drying chamber where the temperature does not exceed 140 ° C. This allows not to destroy the nutrients and at the same time effectively carry out drying to a certain level of humidity. Therefore, sapropel from ALC "AGROSEMPRODUCT" has not only high quality, but also unique properties. Nature has invented everything for us. The only thing is to apply these resources in agricultural production.