Start Date: Feb 05, 2008
End Date: Sep 30, 2010
Improved management of dairy farms requires successfully managing its nutrient flows, both to maximize nutrient use by animals and crops in order to optimize profit, and to minimize nutrient loss to the environment in order to optimize sustainability. We will investigate most aspects of nutrient cycling throughout the dairy-farm system with a variety of methods and at different scales (replicated field plots, field-scale paired watersheds, feeding trials with replicated pens of heifers, etc.). Some experiments also include non-nutrient elements such as eroded sediment and pathogens. Specific experiments will investigate only one or two nutrient pathways that, taken alone, may seem unrelated. However, our research team has a longer-term goal that will be achieved in future CRIS cycles, which is to integrate information across experiments to more completely describe, quantify, model, and manage the entire dairy-farm nutrient cycle. Achieving this goal will help ensure the existence of sustainable, profitable, environmentally benign dairy farming for coming decades.