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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Whole Farm Evaluation of Nutrient Management

Author
item Rotz, Clarence

Submitted to: Animal Nutrition Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 15, 2004
Publication Date: October 5, 2004
Citation: Rotz, C.A. 2004. Whole farm evaluation of nutrient management. Animal Nutrition Conference Proceedings. p. 129-136.

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: Nutrient management has become a major issue for farms in many regions of the country. The nutrients of primary concern are nitrogen and phosphorus. Management to better utilize either of these nutrients is complex, and managing both together is considerably more complex. Nitrogen is lost through volatilization to the atmosphere, runoff in surface water, and leaching into groundwater. Phosphorus is more stable than nitrogen during manure handling and following field application. Thus, phosphorus losses are relatively small, but still very important. Most phosphorus loss occurs through erosion and surface runoff, but some may also leach through the soil profile and return to surface water through drain tiles. A number of management options can be used to improve nutrient utilization on the farm and thus reduce loss to the environment. Finding a cost effective approach though, can be a challenge. A whole farm approach must be taken when considering management changes. Focusing on the reduction of loss from one part of the farm is of little value if that change just leads to additional loss on another part of the farm. Whole-farm management can become very complex and difficult. Many forms of computer software are being developed and used to help integrate farm information and simplify this management process. One particular computer simulation program, the Integrated Farm System Model, was develop as a research and teaching tool for evaluating and comparing the performance, economics, and environmental impact of alternative crop, dairy, and beef farm production systems. The model provides a useful tool in the development, evaluation, and comparison of farm management options.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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