Submitted to: Wisconsin Fertilizer Aglime and Pest Management Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2003
Publication Date: January 21, 2003
Citation: Russelle, M.P. 2003. The role of perennial forages in prevention and remediation of nitrate impacts. Wisconsin Fertilizer, Aglime and Pest Management Conference. p. 59-63. Technical Abstract: The American public is concerned about water and air quality, agrees that stricter regulations are needed to protect the environment, and supports incentives to farmers who adopt improved management practices. Perennial forages, such as alfalfa, other clovers, and forage grasses, have traits that make them highly effective tools to protect and improve soil and water quality. Their long season of growth reduces nitrate leaching to sensitive drinking water aquifers and streams. Some species have deep roots that can remove leached nitrate after other crops or even from fertilizer spills. Ecological benefits can be maximized by planting perennial forages in strategically selected fields. Agricultural consultants should be knowledgeable about these benefits and the management approaches needed to optimize them, and farmers who grow perennial forages should be recognized for the environmental benefits they provide to the nation.