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Best Management Practices To Minimize Agricultural Phosphorus Impacts on Water Quality

by A.N. Sharpley, T. Daniel, G. Gibson, L. Bundy, M. Cabrera, T. Sims, R. Stevens, J. Lemunyon, P. Kleinman, and R. Parry

While phosphorus (P) is essential for profitable crop and livestock agriculture, P loss in watershed runoff accelerates eutrophication of receiving surface waters. The best management practices (BMPs) to mitigate P transfers to surface water include soil and water conservation practices, other management techniques, and social actions appropriate for specific agronomic, environmental, and socioeconomic conditions. Source BMPs are designed to minimize P available to runoff and reduce farm P imports by changing animal feed rations or adding feed additives that increase livestock P-use efficiency. Transport BMPs are designed to limit runoff, erosion, and leaching as important pathways of P loss. Because source and transport BMPs do not address the main problem of farm and regional P surpluses, long-term solutions must extend beyond the farm gate. Color, 48 pages.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, ARS 163

July 2006

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