Project Number: 8070-13000-012-06-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: May 15, 2009
End Date: Apr 29, 2012
This proposal evaluates agronomic and environmental costs and benefits of a northeastern dairy farming system that is designed to be in balance with regard to energy and nutrient imports/exports. We evaluate the benefits and costs of alternative cover crops, manure application systems and energy production systems. Results are intended to serve as the basis for advancing northeastern dairy farming systems to greater productivity and resource independence.
An integrated farming systems model will be used to devise cropping systems based upon manure nutrients that will then be tested under different management scenarios in the field, tracking nutrient and energy flows as well as other production related factors. A demonstration/research site will be developed near University Park, PA, to establish field plots where alternative cropping systems are tested. Systems include corn and soybean rotations with various cover crops and winter small grains, including, but not limited to, canola to generate vegetable oil for farm machinery. In addition to tracking agronomic performance, pests and soil fertility, environmental variables will be measured (water and air quality). Optimal management combinations will be determined, from which agronomic recommendations will be developed.