Precision feeding and forage management effects on phosphorus loss modeled at a watershed scale

L. T. Ghebremichael, T. L. Veith, J. M. Hamlett, W. J. Gburek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Delaware County and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County of New York State have initiated a farm-scale precision feed management (PFM) program to reduce soil-phosphorus build-up and phosphorus (P) losses to the Cannonsville Reservoir, a major supply source of New York City drinking water. The PFM program includes strategies that more precisely balance dairy cattle dietary P requirements with actual P intake and that improve on-farm forage production and utilization in the animal diet. The goal of the PFM program is to reduce manure P concentration, feed nutrients importation, P imbalance problems, and soil-P build-up while maintaining farm profitability. In this study, several PFM strategies were evaluated with respect to controlling P losses and soil-P build-up at both field and watershed scales using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. Using the SWAT model, manure with reduced P concentration was applied to cropland while grass-forage crop productivity was increased through N fertilizer application. The SWAT model simulation revealed decreased particulate phosphorus and soluble phosphorus losses by 22% and 13%, respectively. Predicted reductions of average particulate phosphorus and soluble phosphorus losses at the watershed outlet were 16% and 13% respectively, over a three-year period, compared to the baseline (conditions before changes were implemented). Model results also demonstrated an appreciable decrease in field-level soil-P during the growing season, indicating increased soil-P uptake by the improved grass-forage. For the growing season, reductions for predicted active and labile P pools were 11 and 5 mg kg-1 (0.02 and 0.01 lb tn-1), respectively, compared to the baseline. The corresponding reductions in field-level soil P were equivalent to 8% and 7% for labile and active P pools, respectively. Overall, the PFM strategies were found to have a potential for reducing soil-P build-up and P losses both at field and watershed levels. Performing a model-based environmental evaluation of firm management strategies at a watershed level helps to integrate farm management planning (the smallest management unit) into watershed level planning. Also, evaluating farm management strategies at a watershed scale provides valuable and comprehensive information for assessing the potential for long-term, cost-effective, and permanent reduction of P loss from dairy agriculture to the Cannonsville Reservoir.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-291
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Soil and Water Conservation
Volume63
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008

Fingerprint

range management
forage
watershed
phosphorus
Soil and Water Assessment Tool model
soil
farm
farm management
animal manures
particulates
planning
growing season
farm profitability
manure
farms
forage grasses
forage production
forage crops
grass
environmental assessment

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Cite this

Ghebremichael, L. T., Veith, T. L., Hamlett, J. M., & Gburek, W. J. (2008). Precision feeding and forage management effects on phosphorus loss modeled at a watershed scale. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 63(5), 280-291.
Ghebremichael, L. T. ; Veith, T. L. ; Hamlett, J. M. ; Gburek, W. J. / Precision feeding and forage management effects on phosphorus loss modeled at a watershed scale. In: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 2008 ; Vol. 63, No. 5. pp. 280-291.
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abstract = "Delaware County and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County of New York State have initiated a farm-scale precision feed management (PFM) program to reduce soil-phosphorus build-up and phosphorus (P) losses to the Cannonsville Reservoir, a major supply source of New York City drinking water. The PFM program includes strategies that more precisely balance dairy cattle dietary P requirements with actual P intake and that improve on-farm forage production and utilization in the animal diet. The goal of the PFM program is to reduce manure P concentration, feed nutrients importation, P imbalance problems, and soil-P build-up while maintaining farm profitability. In this study, several PFM strategies were evaluated with respect to controlling P losses and soil-P build-up at both field and watershed scales using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. Using the SWAT model, manure with reduced P concentration was applied to cropland while grass-forage crop productivity was increased through N fertilizer application. The SWAT model simulation revealed decreased particulate phosphorus and soluble phosphorus losses by 22{\%} and 13{\%}, respectively. Predicted reductions of average particulate phosphorus and soluble phosphorus losses at the watershed outlet were 16{\%} and 13{\%} respectively, over a three-year period, compared to the baseline (conditions before changes were implemented). Model results also demonstrated an appreciable decrease in field-level soil-P during the growing season, indicating increased soil-P uptake by the improved grass-forage. For the growing season, reductions for predicted active and labile P pools were 11 and 5 mg kg-1 (0.02 and 0.01 lb tn-1), respectively, compared to the baseline. The corresponding reductions in field-level soil P were equivalent to 8{\%} and 7{\%} for labile and active P pools, respectively. Overall, the PFM strategies were found to have a potential for reducing soil-P build-up and P losses both at field and watershed levels. Performing a model-based environmental evaluation of firm management strategies at a watershed level helps to integrate farm management planning (the smallest management unit) into watershed level planning. Also, evaluating farm management strategies at a watershed scale provides valuable and comprehensive information for assessing the potential for long-term, cost-effective, and permanent reduction of P loss from dairy agriculture to the Cannonsville Reservoir.",
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Ghebremichael, LT, Veith, TL, Hamlett, JM & Gburek, WJ 2008, 'Precision feeding and forage management effects on phosphorus loss modeled at a watershed scale', Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, vol. 63, no. 5, pp. 280-291.

Precision feeding and forage management effects on phosphorus loss modeled at a watershed scale. / Ghebremichael, L. T.; Veith, T. L.; Hamlett, J. M.; Gburek, W. J.

In: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Vol. 63, No. 5, 01.09.2008, p. 280-291.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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N2 - Delaware County and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County of New York State have initiated a farm-scale precision feed management (PFM) program to reduce soil-phosphorus build-up and phosphorus (P) losses to the Cannonsville Reservoir, a major supply source of New York City drinking water. The PFM program includes strategies that more precisely balance dairy cattle dietary P requirements with actual P intake and that improve on-farm forage production and utilization in the animal diet. The goal of the PFM program is to reduce manure P concentration, feed nutrients importation, P imbalance problems, and soil-P build-up while maintaining farm profitability. In this study, several PFM strategies were evaluated with respect to controlling P losses and soil-P build-up at both field and watershed scales using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. Using the SWAT model, manure with reduced P concentration was applied to cropland while grass-forage crop productivity was increased through N fertilizer application. The SWAT model simulation revealed decreased particulate phosphorus and soluble phosphorus losses by 22% and 13%, respectively. Predicted reductions of average particulate phosphorus and soluble phosphorus losses at the watershed outlet were 16% and 13% respectively, over a three-year period, compared to the baseline (conditions before changes were implemented). Model results also demonstrated an appreciable decrease in field-level soil-P during the growing season, indicating increased soil-P uptake by the improved grass-forage. For the growing season, reductions for predicted active and labile P pools were 11 and 5 mg kg-1 (0.02 and 0.01 lb tn-1), respectively, compared to the baseline. The corresponding reductions in field-level soil P were equivalent to 8% and 7% for labile and active P pools, respectively. Overall, the PFM strategies were found to have a potential for reducing soil-P build-up and P losses both at field and watershed levels. Performing a model-based environmental evaluation of firm management strategies at a watershed level helps to integrate farm management planning (the smallest management unit) into watershed level planning. Also, evaluating farm management strategies at a watershed scale provides valuable and comprehensive information for assessing the potential for long-term, cost-effective, and permanent reduction of P loss from dairy agriculture to the Cannonsville Reservoir.

AB - Delaware County and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County of New York State have initiated a farm-scale precision feed management (PFM) program to reduce soil-phosphorus build-up and phosphorus (P) losses to the Cannonsville Reservoir, a major supply source of New York City drinking water. The PFM program includes strategies that more precisely balance dairy cattle dietary P requirements with actual P intake and that improve on-farm forage production and utilization in the animal diet. The goal of the PFM program is to reduce manure P concentration, feed nutrients importation, P imbalance problems, and soil-P build-up while maintaining farm profitability. In this study, several PFM strategies were evaluated with respect to controlling P losses and soil-P build-up at both field and watershed scales using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. Using the SWAT model, manure with reduced P concentration was applied to cropland while grass-forage crop productivity was increased through N fertilizer application. The SWAT model simulation revealed decreased particulate phosphorus and soluble phosphorus losses by 22% and 13%, respectively. Predicted reductions of average particulate phosphorus and soluble phosphorus losses at the watershed outlet were 16% and 13% respectively, over a three-year period, compared to the baseline (conditions before changes were implemented). Model results also demonstrated an appreciable decrease in field-level soil-P during the growing season, indicating increased soil-P uptake by the improved grass-forage. For the growing season, reductions for predicted active and labile P pools were 11 and 5 mg kg-1 (0.02 and 0.01 lb tn-1), respectively, compared to the baseline. The corresponding reductions in field-level soil P were equivalent to 8% and 7% for labile and active P pools, respectively. Overall, the PFM strategies were found to have a potential for reducing soil-P build-up and P losses both at field and watershed levels. Performing a model-based environmental evaluation of firm management strategies at a watershed level helps to integrate farm management planning (the smallest management unit) into watershed level planning. Also, evaluating farm management strategies at a watershed scale provides valuable and comprehensive information for assessing the potential for long-term, cost-effective, and permanent reduction of P loss from dairy agriculture to the Cannonsville Reservoir.

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