Farmers reduce phosphorus delivery

Dennis Frame
Now Media Group


Yahara Pride Farms (YPF) has a very active cost-share program, which provides funds to farmers who are interested in experimenting with a new practice.

The 2015 program provided funds for cover cropping (up to 50 acres at $40/acre); strip tillage (up to 20 acres at $20/acre); low disturbance manure incorporation (up to 50 acres at $15/ acre) and headland stacking of manure ($1.50/ton of manure stacked).

Each year, YPF writes a phosphorus reduction report that is submitted to Yahara WINs, the organization that provides the cost-share funds. This report contains information on how each practice reduced phosphorus loss when compared to the previous farming system.

For example, a field planted and harvested as corn silage and fall chiseled as the prior practice; compared to planted, harvested as corn silage, no till planted into a cover crop and spring tilled.

The report uses information from each farms SNAP plan and evaluates the difference between estimated phosphorus loss under the old farming system and the new system.

The table below contains a summary of the data and the phosphorus savings for each of the three cost-shared practices(LDMI – Low Disturbance Manure Incorporation). It also shows how farms that use several practices on the same field (cover crops and strip tillage, or LDMI) have a greater phosphorus savings than any one practice.

The final column has data from 10 fields that had 5 – 6 years of a practice applied. The important point for this information is that the 4.68 pounds of phosphorus saved accounts only for the last year in the rotation. It does not take into account the phosphorus saved during each year of the rotation

Dennis Frame is the conservation resource manager YPF. This article was originally featured in Forward Farmer, the official publication of Yahara Pride Farms., Inc.