Nutrient management improves forage, water quality on organic dairy

Nutrient management improves forage, water quality on organic dairy


For our nutrient management program, we’ve
been working with a lot of the dairies. They’ve gotten to work with an N-R-C-S technical service
provider. He’s basically a crop consultant that goes out and helps them take their soil
samples, which the farmers are already doing on their own, but that helps them get a close-up
look of what’s going on with their fields and crops. They can look at the nitrogen,
phosphorus and potassium, and also the soil PH level, to see where they’re at. And he
helps them keep records throughout the year. It just helps to know, to keep their neighbors
happy and also just to maximize their crop yield. Just to put on the right amount that
the grass needs to grow, and to not over or under apply.
The real profit of the nutrient management would be the added forage that we get off
fields that we were under-applying. It allows us to gain more tons per acre and hopefully
purchase less imported fields. Through nutrient management, the farmers are
really good about having a confined animal feeding operation plan. And so they don’t
apply too close to the river. They use a buffer zone, and so, they do a good job just getting
it applied evenly and making sure it doesn’t get off the farm.
Most people call it waste, but it’s a resource. Especially organically, it keeps the nutrients
right here.

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