Submitted to: National Arbor Day Foundation
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: April 12, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Agricultural practices and their effect on the movement of agricultural chemicals and sediment have been a source of controversy because of the inability to precisely define the impact of various farming practices on nonpoint source pollution. Nonpoint source pollution links agricultural practices with offsite movement of nutrients, pesticides, and sediment, however, the exact relationship is dependent upon soil, topography, meteorology, cropping practice, and landscape. The role of agricultural practices on the amount of movement from the edge of fields has been debated, however, there is little agreement about the efficacy of various practices on environmental quality. However, there is agreement that agricultural practices that would either reduce inputs or apply inputs at time with a lesser degree of risk of offsite movement would have a positive impact on environmental quality. The discussion over offsite movement is complicated by the fact that although water is the primary transport mechanism the processes for nutrients, pesticides, pathogens, and sediments is different and therefore, would respond differently to management practices. Environmental quality is multi-dimensional and there are a number of interrelated factors linked to offsite movement and include soil management practices, soil type, topography, organic matter content, crop, weather events, and prior management. Precision agriculture or site-specific agricultural practices may affect offsite movement of different components from a field.