Redesigning dairy systems for improved nitrogen use                  Michael Russelle                USDA-ARS, St. Paul, M...
Vision:High and stable profitabilityPositive environmental footprintBeneficial psychologically and socially• Animals are h...
Primary goal: Capture more N                         Vegetation (animal) and soil organic matter                          ...
Milk, meat Culls                 Feed Manure                 Minerals Feed                 Heifers         Gases          ...
Shallow aquifer NO3 concentrations increase with N surplus                             140                             120...
N losses often increase with N input                                 Rotz et al. 2005. Crop Sci. 45:2139
Whole-farm nitrogen surplus – Australian dairy farms               How much do you buy? How much do you sell?             ...
Whole-farm nitrogen surplus – European dairy farms                                  7 g N/L                               ...
Whole-farm nitrogen surplus                                                                 12.1 g N/LThe best Europe is d...
Trim the flowTap the flowPlug the leaks
So, the first question is:Can you and will you utilize increased forage resource?            (hay harvest, higher stocking...
Increase the amount of the limiting nutrient     1. adjust soil pH;     2. add the correct nutrient;     3. add inoculated...
Grazing management alters nitrate leaching loss Nitrate-N (ppm)      Highest risk              Lowest risk           It is...
How should N fertilizer be managed to reduce N2O?                                Apply only when plants are N limited     ...
+DCD                                                         Treating pastures with dicyandiamide                         ...
Powell and Bocher
FNE = Fertilizer N equivalent                                       Manure N availability                                H...
Manure on alfalfa and other legumes                • Large nutrient removal                • Limits nitrate leaching      ...
PAMI, 2001      How much is too much?                                                               160                   ...
Manure can improve legume yieldPhotosynthate used for yield rather than N2 fixation?Not a reason to use fertilizer N on al...
Nitrate leaching reduced under corn with living mulch of Kura clover                                                Total ...
J.M. Baker, USDA-ARS, 2012                                             Maize          Kura clover                         ...
J.M. Baker, USDA-ARS, 2012          Living mulchesKura clover            Maize
Corn in living mulchRosemount, MN 2011Silage productionequivalent toconventional corn,with substantially lessN fertilizerI...
J.M. Baker, USDA-ARS, 2012
Coefficient of variation (%)                               60                                Maize                        ...
A corn belt paradox• Plenty of water – that could support more crop  growth• Often too much – Many of the most productive ...
How do we adapt?• Rejuvenate landscape water storage capacity• Link it to supplemental irrigation• Use the water to      a...
J.M. Baker,USDA-ARS, 2012
Watonwan County, MN                               1140 km2                                                                ...
J.M. Baker, USDA-ARS, 2012Increase landscape water storage capacity
Deficit Irrigation            Hochman et al., 2011, Eur. J. Agron. doi:10.1016.j.eja.2011.11.003
Reshape the land surface for water harvesting and management    Small-profile landshaping, fit to equipment, livestock    ...
Managed drainage                                                                                              Peggy Greb, ...
Supplemental irrigation                                              Increased yield potential                            ...
Water harvesting with supplemental irrigation                                Growing season rainfall:     200 mm          ...
Soil organic matter supports stability in wheat yield                                                   Regions with      ...
Maximum Return to Nitrogen (MRTN)                       Sawyer et al. 2006. extension.iastate.edu. PM2015
Maximum Return to NFlat profit function  Sawyer et al. 2006. extension.iastate.edu. PM2015
Maximum Return to N+/- $1/ac Sawyer et al. 2006. extension.iastate.edu. PM2015
Alfalfa-corn rotations conserve resources               Tim McCabe, NRCS            Don Reicosky, USDA-ARS• Deep roots rec...
Why worry about manure?Inexpensive source of nutrientsCan improve soil organic matter‘Handy’Major source of contamination ...
Feed management rules!Improving the ration is effective and profitable                                     Powell et al., ...
Supplementation on pasture
Feed quality influences manure quality and nutrient cycling                     Tannins help improve feed N utilization,  ...
They do rather spotty jobs           and where they pee, you often see       Urine              Dung                      ...
Variable N rate applicator1 m2 areas scanned, N rate predicted,N applied based on projected yield and likelihood of econom...
VRT on established bermudagrass pasture                      N rate based on NDVI value                          • produce...
Whole-farm nitrogen balance                                                                       12.1 g N/L   Mean loadin...
Urine capturePlastic-lined, woodchip covered loafing area          Urination (%)      MilkTreatments          Pastures Dai...
We know where they be, and know when they pee….                             Betteridge et al., 2010, Computers Electronics...
“Direct deposit” vs daily haul                                 During 3 to 4 wk after application:                        ...
High water use                          High nitrate uptake capacity                          Deep rooting                ...
Global Distribution of Agricultural Ecosystems                                            • 50% more agricultural producti...
In California,                                                                   fertilizer N rate matters,               ...
Cropland      NUE    N Surplus    Water fluxHarter et al. 2012. Addressing NO3 in CA drinking water
Protease inhibitors reduce N mineralization from soil OM and plant residue               Purified proteases applied to soi...
Protease inhibitor activity can delay N mineralization and nitrate leaching         Brassica residues with (line 108b) and...
Manure is not applied to the entire land base 29 farms in Victoria, Australia, and Wisconsin, USA     C        =   Confine...
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Redesigning Dairy Systems for Improved N Use

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  • This is a system that could potentially support both grain and bioenergy production from the same land base, without the risk of erosion and soil carbon loss.
  • Too much water, usually in the spring, and too little water, usually in the summer. Both of these liable to become worse under climate change
  • If we can store water during times of excess and use it to support cropping systems that fix more carbon, we can increase productivity while reducing the blue water fraction, and the problems that attend it.
  • MN has developed a statewide map dataset of potentially restorable wetlands that can be used as a guide for feasibility studies. Here is an example, happens to be Watonwan County, that has been overlaid on a land use map. The flesh-color that covers most of the map denotes fields that are planted in corn or soybean. The blue indicates existing water and the green delineates potentially restorable wetlands. You can see that they are scattered throughout, offering substantial flexibility in locating surface water storage. Now obviously an area like this has a substantial amount of tile drains and ditches. In relatively level fields with pattern tile drains, if these systems are hydraulically connected to surface water bodies they can be used in reverse, a practice known as subirrigation that has been shown to increase yields of both corn and soybeans. Where the terrain is not so level, or where the tile networks are more haphazard, other irrigation techniques would be necessary. These could include conventional center pivots, traveling guns, rolling systems, or newer designs. Note the amount of money that has been spent on crop insurance payouts for water-related yield loss – over $9 million during the past 12 years. These payments scale with crop prices. Over the period corn averaged $3.05 and soybeans 6.14. Current prices are just about double. If they stay that high over the next 12 years, the payout will double – over $18 million, even assuming no change in freq. or intensity of drought/excess water. Climate models suggest that both will intensity.
  • These would provide wildlife habitat, and reduction in downstream N & sediment loss. Can we make them leaky, in a way that will increase their effective capacity, recharge aquifers and support pivot irrigation?
  • Redesigning Dairy Systems for Improved N Use

    1. 1. Redesigning dairy systems for improved nitrogen use Michael Russelle USDA-ARS, St. Paul, MN Where are the gaps?
    2. 2. Vision:High and stable profitabilityPositive environmental footprintBeneficial psychologically and socially• Animals are healthy, happy, productive• Feed is reliable (amount and quality) Home-grown or neighboring farms• Diet is optimally balanced• Yield gap of milk, meat, wool is narrowed Quality is maintained• Manure is returned to land that produced feed Easy to capture, quality maintained• Nutrient loss is minimal Except in sold products• Most new N from legumes• Farm family is healthy, happy, and active 5 work days/wk, 4 weeks of vacation/yr Strong rural community
    3. 3. Primary goal: Capture more N Vegetation (animal) and soil organic matter 2 bank accounts intensity -- kura clover Fertilizer N does not build soil OM o increase resilience must be incorporated in plant roots, residue, and manuree with beddingwith large root mass Intensify productivity ial root characteristics more DM, N uptake torage to retain N less water leachede impact of fert price changes more soil OMeliable N supply (NH4) the C to the soil Diversify to extend resource explorationg water supply deep rootsental irrigation perenniality C4/C3 pastures N management resilience with variable weather cific farming approaches reduce excess available N to improve WUEest for quality forecasting
    4. 4. Milk, meat Culls Feed Manure Minerals Feed Heifers Gases N2 fixation FertilizerRunoff Manure Atm. dep. Leaching Ron Nichols, USDA
    5. 5. Shallow aquifer NO3 concentrations increase with N surplus 140 120 Nitrate conc. (mg NO3/L) 100 80 60 40 20 0 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 Farm N surplus (kg N /ha) Oenema et al., 2010. J. Environ. Qual. 39:2016
    6. 6. N losses often increase with N input Rotz et al. 2005. Crop Sci. 45:2139
    7. 7. Whole-farm nitrogen surplus – Australian dairy farms How much do you buy? How much do you sell? 12.1 g N/L41 contrasting dairy farms Gourley et al., 2012. An. Prod. Sci. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN11337
    8. 8. Whole-farm nitrogen surplus – European dairy farms 7 g N/L !!! Nevens et al., 2006, J. Agric. Systems 88:142
    9. 9. Whole-farm nitrogen surplus 12.1 g N/LThe best Europe is doingThe best Australia is doing 7 g N/LWhat are these producers doing?Which practices are site-specific?Which are broadly adoptable?Farmers trust farmers. Gourley et al., 2012. An. Prod. Sci. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN11337
    10. 10. Trim the flowTap the flowPlug the leaks
    11. 11. So, the first question is:Can you and will you utilize increased forage resource? (hay harvest, higher stocking rate, etc.) And the second question is: Which response should you measure? (soil test level, plant nutrient concentration, plant survival, pasture yield, animal nutrient level) D.C. Whitehead, 2000. Nutrient Elements in Grassland
    12. 12. Increase the amount of the limiting nutrient 1. adjust soil pH; 2. add the correct nutrient; 3. add inoculated legumes; 4. improve soil organic matter; 5. provide tactical irrigation. Manure or fertilizer, supplemental feed nutrients, mineral block, irrigation or drinking water, or from deep-rooted or N2-fixing plants. D.C. Whitehead, 2000. Nutrient Elements in Grassland
    13. 13. Grazing management alters nitrate leaching loss Nitrate-N (ppm) Highest risk Lowest risk It is most effective to restrict late-season grazing Perennial ryegrass – white clover, 225 lb N/acre/year 80 cows, 17,600 lb milk/cow, 86 acres grassland on sandy soil 20 hr/day grazing, 15 April to 15 October Humid maritime climate Eriksen et al. orgprints.org/17879
    14. 14. How should N fertilizer be managed to reduce N2O? Apply only when plants are N limited Use rates <50 kg N/haN2O emission (kg N/ha) — 50 kg N/ha per grazing event — 50 kg N/ha 10% growth limited - -▲ 50 kg N/ha 25% growth limited -- No fertilizer applied Eckard et al. 2006. Int. Congress Ser. 1293:76 When should manure effluent be applied to pasture? Highest N2O emission with effluent on recently grazed, wet soil (0.01 to 5% of effluent N when applied at 16 to 45 lb N/acre) Apply during dry periods Delay application after grazing Luo et al. 2008. Plant Soil 309:119
    15. 15. +DCD Treating pastures with dicyandiamide NH4+ reduced nitrification (often 70%) and improves pasture growth (often 20%) Effect is most pronounced in urine patches NO3- +DCD % Inhibition of nitrification Moir et al. 2007. Soil Use Manag. 23:111Ledgard et al. 2008. Agric. Ecosys. Environ. 125:148
    16. 16. Powell and Bocher
    17. 17. FNE = Fertilizer N equivalent Manure N availability How good are the recommendations? Russelle et al., 2008. U MN Ext. Bull. 08583
    18. 18. Manure on alfalfa and other legumes • Large nutrient removal • Limits nitrate leaching • Limits runoff (esp. if incorporated) • Opportunity for summer applications BUT • Ammonia loss and odors can be highUniv. Missouri Ext. Serv. Les Everett How much incorporation is required? How much is too much? Where does the N go?
    19. 19. PAMI, 2001 How much is too much? 160 3-year total yield (%) 140 Low soil fertility High soil fertility 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Check Check 4,000 8,000 16,000 Not Disturbed gal/a gal/a gal/a disturbed (yr 1,2,3) (yr 1,3) (yr 1) Can we afford to reduce runoff and volatilization by incorporation?Lamb et al. 2005. Crop Sci. 45:2293 Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute, Saskatchewan
    20. 20. Manure can improve legume yieldPhotosynthate used for yield rather than N2 fixation?Not a reason to use fertilizer N on alfalfa, but… Ceotto and Spallacci. 2010. Field Crops Res. 95:135
    21. 21. Nitrate leaching reduced under corn with living mulch of Kura clover Total NO3-N leached (2.5 yr) Control 151 kg N/ha Living mulch + 90 Kg N/ha 104 kg N/ha Living mulch 39 kg N/ha Ochsner et al. 2010. Agron. J. 102:1169
    22. 22. J.M. Baker, USDA-ARS, 2012 Maize Kura clover SoybeanData from adjacent fields with same soil type , Rosemount MN 2010
    23. 23. J.M. Baker, USDA-ARS, 2012 Living mulchesKura clover Maize
    24. 24. Corn in living mulchRosemount, MN 2011Silage productionequivalent toconventional corn,with substantially lessN fertilizerIF water is not limitingJ.M. Baker, USDA-ARS, 2012
    25. 25. J.M. Baker, USDA-ARS, 2012
    26. 26. Coefficient of variation (%) 60 Maize Soybean 50 y = 84 - 10.0x + 0.29x2 y = 120 - 54.1x + 6.44x2 40 r2 = 0.92; p<0.001 2 r = 0.88; p<0.001 30 20 Irrigated 10 Rainfed 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 -1 Grassini and Cassman, Univ. of Nebraska, unpublished Grain yield (Mg ha ) Deeply-rooted perennials can exhibit more stable yields than annuals
    27. 27. A corn belt paradox• Plenty of water – that could support more crop growth• Often too much – Many of the most productive fields in the region have some form of artificial drainage• But sometimes not enough – Short-term drought is a major cause of yield loss, and a disincentive to perennialization J.M. Baker, USDA-ARS, 2012
    28. 28. How do we adapt?• Rejuvenate landscape water storage capacity• Link it to supplemental irrigation• Use the water to a) alleviate short-term drought at critical times; b) increase net productivity, with cropping practices that use more of the growing season. J.M. Baker, USDA-ARS, 2012
    29. 29. J.M. Baker,USDA-ARS, 2012
    30. 30. Watonwan County, MN 1140 km2 White = urbanCorn & soybean crop insurance payments, Watonwan County 2000-2011 flooded or wet soil - $3,170,336 drought - $5,938,457 J.M. Baker, USDA-ARS, 2012
    31. 31. J.M. Baker, USDA-ARS, 2012Increase landscape water storage capacity
    32. 32. Deficit Irrigation Hochman et al., 2011, Eur. J. Agron. doi:10.1016.j.eja.2011.11.003
    33. 33. Reshape the land surface for water harvesting and management Small-profile landshaping, fit to equipment, livestock high-efficiency storage deficit irrigation, SDI Drain tile (plug in dry years, collect in wet) 0.1m 10m D. Farmer et al., 2004. 13th Int. Soil Conserv. Org. Conf., paper 729
    34. 34. Managed drainage Peggy Greb, USDA Kelly Nelson, Univ. MissouriBusman and Sands, 2009. Univ. Minnesota Ext., WW-07740
    35. 35. Supplemental irrigation Increased yield potential Improved N use efficiencyDylan Hirsch, 2011, Quantifying irrigation demand for water harvesting system design. Bach. Eng. diss. Univ. W. Australia with Neil Coles
    36. 36. Water harvesting with supplemental irrigation Growing season rainfall: 200 mm Supplemental irrigation: 60 mm 160 mm Yield potential increase to: 4.3 t/ha 5.9 t/ha > Allocating land to water production may pay Relevant rainfall (mm) Yield (t/ha) Catchment Growing season rainfall Yield potential (control) Yield potential (SI)Dylan Hirsch, 2011, Quantifying irrigation demand for water harvesting system design. Bach. Eng. diss. Univ. W. Australia with Neil Coles
    37. 37. Soil organic matter supports stability in wheat yield Regions with marginal climate Regions with normal climate Pan et al., 2009, Agric. Ecosys. Environ. 129:344-348
    38. 38. Maximum Return to Nitrogen (MRTN) Sawyer et al. 2006. extension.iastate.edu. PM2015
    39. 39. Maximum Return to NFlat profit function Sawyer et al. 2006. extension.iastate.edu. PM2015
    40. 40. Maximum Return to N+/- $1/ac Sawyer et al. 2006. extension.iastate.edu. PM2015
    41. 41. Alfalfa-corn rotations conserve resources Tim McCabe, NRCS Don Reicosky, USDA-ARS• Deep roots recover • Fertilizer N credit leached N • Less pesticide use• Utilizes shallow GW • Spread labor needs• Improves soil tilth • Improves aesthetics• Erosion control • Wildlife habitat
    42. 42. Why worry about manure?Inexpensive source of nutrientsCan improve soil organic matter‘Handy’Major source of contamination of water and airImprove distribution of urine and dungImprove retention of ammonium-N reduce impact of fert price changes more reliable N supply (NH4) – reduce risk
    43. 43. Feed management rules!Improving the ration is effective and profitable Powell et al., 2010. Environ. Sci. Policy 13:217
    44. 44. Supplementation on pasture
    45. 45. Feed quality influences manure quality and nutrient cycling Tannins help improve feed N utilization, reduce urinary N excretion, lower ammonia emissions by up to 45%, and may reduce methane emission. MacAdam et al. 2006. 10.1094/FG-2006-0912-01-RV
    46. 46. They do rather spotty jobs and where they pee, you often see Urine Dung Pre-grazing 5 weeks post-grazingK. Auerswald et al. 2010. Nutrient Cycl. Agroecosys. 88:275 Keith Betteridge, AgResearch
    47. 47. Variable N rate applicator1 m2 areas scanned, N rate predicted,N applied based on projected yield and likelihood of economic response Bill Raun, Oklahoma State Univ., nue.okstate.edu
    48. 48. VRT on established bermudagrass pasture N rate based on NDVI value • produced similar forage yield • reduced yield variability • reduced fertilizer N by 60% Prefertilization, May 28 First harvest, June 27 Var 336 672 Var 336 672 0 0 kg N/haTaylor et al., 1998, J. Plant Nutr. 21:2287
    49. 49. Whole-farm nitrogen balance 12.1 g N/L Mean loading rates: Location kg N/day Dry paddocks 32.2 Surplus Night paddocks 33.6 Yards 10.1 Laneway 7.1 Feedpad 6.3 Holding area 4.1High accumulation in some spotsNo soil organic matter build-upAmmonia, N2O, nitrate, and runoff losses Gourley et al., 2012. An. Prod. Sci. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN11337
    50. 50. Urine capturePlastic-lined, woodchip covered loafing area Urination (%) MilkTreatments Pastures Dairy + pad (kg/cow/d)> Control 89 11 24.0> Confined 2 4-hr periods after milking 54 46 22.1> Confined 1 8-hr period between milking 51 49 20.8Similar urine distribution, but no difference in milk production in late lactation Clark et al., 2010, J. Dairy Sci. 93:2280
    51. 51. We know where they be, and know when they pee…. Betteridge et al., 2010, Computers Electronics Agric. 73:66
    52. 52. “Direct deposit” vs daily haul During 3 to 4 wk after application: ~ 82% loss from barn manure (after 20-30% loss in barn) ~ 30% from corrallingCorralling livestock on a fine-textured soil • improved crop yield and N uptake • reduced ammonia volatilization losses • maintained low nitrate leaching losses • improved short-term mineralization potential
    53. 53. High water use High nitrate uptake capacity Deep rooting High profitability High N supply to next cropForages, OR State Univ. Rockwell
    54. 54. Global Distribution of Agricultural Ecosystems • 50% more agricultural production needed by 2050 (Tilman et al., 2001) •Bringing crop yields to their potential will require more chemicals, nutrients, and water (Licker and Foley, 2010)Foley et al., 2005, Science, 309: 570-574 Courtesy of T.J. Griffis
    55. 55. In California, fertilizer N rate matters, but is not the whole story < 1 ppm NO3 15-22 45-90 100-150 < 15 200-300 30-50 >500Harter et al. 2012. Addressing NO3 in CA drinking water
    56. 56. Cropland NUE N Surplus Water fluxHarter et al. 2012. Addressing NO3 in CA drinking water
    57. 57. Protease inhibitors reduce N mineralization from soil OM and plant residue Purified proteases applied to soil or soil + alfalfa; 50-day incubation 40 (a) CS+Complete PI (D0+D25) Soil only 30 CS+Aprotinin CS+Complete PI CS+EDTA CS+Leupeptin Control soil (CS) Net N Mineralized (mg/kg soil) 20 Complete ‘cocktail’ best 10 0 120 (b) Soil + alfalfa CSA+Complete PI (D0+D25) 100 Control soil + alfalfa (CSA) 80 Complete ‘cocktail’ best CSA+Complete PI 60 with 2X dose CSA+Leupeptin CSA+Aprotinin (11 Mg/ha tissue added) CSA+EDTA 40 20 0 Kuldip Kumar et al., 2004, in D.J. Hatch (ed) Controlling nitrogen flows and losses, p.186-7
    58. 58. Protease inhibitor activity can delay N mineralization and nitrate leaching Brassica residues with (line 108b) and without the Pin 2 from potatoLeaves mechanically wounded 3 days before adding to soil (1.5-2X increase in PI activity) PI-transgenic Non-PI isogenic PI- transgenic Non-PI-isogenic 140 (a) 40 120 100 * 30 Conc. Inorganic N in leachate (mg(mg/L) 80 Residue N mineralized (% of applied) of inorganic-N in leachate L ) Residue N mineralized (%) * 20 -1 60 Mixed with soil 40 10 * 20 * * 0 0 0 20 40 60 80 100 Days 140 (b) 40 120 100 30 * 80 20 60 * On soil surface 40 * * 10 * 20 * 0 0 0 20 40 60 80 100 Days Kuldip Kumar et al., 2006, Agron. J. 98:514
    59. 59. Manure is not applied to the entire land base 29 farms in Victoria, Australia, and Wisconsin, USA C = Confinement C, EY = Confinement with exercise yard C, SG = Confinement with seasonal grazing YG = Year-round grazing YG, FP = Year-round grazing with feeding area Gourley et al. 2012. Agric. Ecosys. Environ. 147:73

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