2009 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
i) Evaluate the effectiveness of alternative forage production systems utilizing animal manures on long-term P and K nutrient budgets, N leaching losses and soil organic carbon dynamics; ii) evaluate alternative rotations that open windows for application of manure, and increase feed production for dairy operations; and iii) design improved organic grain rotations that include manure inputs and produce feed for organic dairy operations.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Improved management of dairy farms requires successful management of 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. This SCA will continue to monitor long-term cropping systems trials (established 1990) that include three grain- and three forage-production systems. Of particular interest in this study, which includes the use of animal manures, is the comprehensive performance of these production systems. Specifically, participating scientists are not only interested in traditional agronomic measures of forage and grain production, but also in long-term P and K nutrient budgets, N leaching losses, and soil organic C dynamics. Another aspect of these studies seeks to develop conventional and organic crop-management strategies to facilitate the exchange of N, P, and K as manure and feed between neighboring dairy and cash-grain farms. This will be accomplished via on-station and on-farm trials. Finally, a grass ley concept that provides sites for summer manure applications onto perennial-forage sods will be evaluated in replicated plot trials, as well as through assessment of voluntary intake by replacement dairy heifers.
The first year of the project has focused on data collection. Soil samples have been collected for soil organic carbon and other analyses. Data were collected from both on-farm and on-station research trials. Interviews were conducted with manure haulers in order to complete budgets to estimate the value of manure in corn-based operations. Data were summarized from a project evaluating a grass ley as a reception site for summer manure applications; this includes a voluntary intake assessment of manured and commercially fertilized grasses with replacement dairy heifers. The ADODR monitored this SCA by regular phone or in-person communication with UW personnel, and by direct participation in some of the studies conducted.