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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: Economic and phosphorus-related effects of precision feeding and forage management at a farm scale

item Veith, Tameria - Tamie
item Ghebremichael, Lula

Submitted to: Extension Fact Sheets
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/7/2011
Publication Date: 2/1/2011
Citation: Veith, T.L., Ghebremichael, L.T. 2011. Economic and phosphorus-related effects of precision feeding and forage management at a farm scale. NEPC Fact Sheets. p. 1.

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: A system-level redesign of farm management is needed to maintain economic viability of the farm while addressing phosphorous imbalance problems caused by many current practices. One innovative strategy, precision feed management (PFM), reduces soil-phosphorus build-up by limiting feed and fertilizer purchases and increasing high-quality homegrown forage production. Variations of this strategy were simulated with a whole-farm model, Integrated Farm System Model (IFSM). Results showed that feeding phosphorous based on required dietary needs, increasing grass forage productivity, and increasing the proportion of high-quality forage in the diet reduced the phosphorus imbalance of two New York dairy farms from 5.3 to 0.5 kg/ ha and 9.6 to 0.0 kg/ha, respectively. For both farms, soluble phosphorus lost to the environment was reduced by 18%. Feed supplement purchases declined annually by 7.5 kg/cow for dietary mineral phosphorus and by 1.04 and 1.29 t/cow for protein concentrates through adoption of PFM. When land was converted from corn to grass in addition to the PFM system, IFSM predicted annual reductions of 5.8 and 9.3 kg/ha sediment-bound phosphorus loss through erosion from the converted land. The model-based studies conducted on a farm-by-farm basis complement farm planning efforts in exploring innovative farming systems.

Last Modified: 06/25/2017
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