2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Principal focus of the CEAP Watershed Studies is to evaluate the effects and benefits of conservation practices at the watershed scale, in support of policy decisions and program implementation.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The effects of conservation activities on water and soil quality will be assessed at the watershed scale using models such as ARS’ Soil and Water Assessment Tool, in combination with ARS long-term watershed data sets, expertise, and resources.
Through consultation with NRCS Conservationists and Pennsylvania Cooperative Extension, three farm types were selected for investigation: a crop farm, a machinery-powered (English) dairy farm, and an Amish dairy farm powered by horses and stationary machinery. These three farm types represent a large portion of the Lancaster, Lebanon, and Dauphin County region of Pennsylvania. Typical characteristics were gathered for these farms and parameters were set to simulate them with the Integrated Farm System Model (IFSM). Adjustments in the inputs and in application of IFSM were made so that the model output properly represented the real farms of each type. This included researching the power, time, and effectiveness constraints of using horse-drawn equipment and representing that in IFSM. In the next phase of the project, various alternative management practices will be evaluated for each farm using IFSM to determine their effect on farm profitability and their effectiveness in reducing farm losses of nutrients and sediment.