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Nutrient management planners' feedback on new york and pennsylvania phosphorus indices


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The Phosphorus Index (PI) estimates the relative risk of P loss from agricultural fields and encourages the implementation of best management practices to reduce this risk. A majority of states designed their own PI version to address local conditions and priorities, resulting in a large variation in PI structures among states. Currently, multiple projects nationwide are evaluating if the different PIs are directionally and magnitudinally correct in ranking fields based in their potential for P loss. In the Chesapeake Bay, New York (NY), Pennsylvania (PA), Delaware (DE), Maryland (MD), Virginia (VA), and West Virginia (WV) are working cooperatively to fulfill this objective. Several approaches have been proposed to determine the effectiveness of the various PIs. The following results summarize one approach: a survey of certified nutrient management (CNMP) planners with questions specifically related to their perspectives on the NY and PA PIs. This approach recognizes that planners have experience with the PI and have a close knowledge of the landscape scenarios and management that have previously resulted in water quality violations.

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Nutrient management planners' feedback on new york and pennsylvania phosphorus indices

  1. 1. NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT PLANNERS' FEEDBACK ON NEW YORK AND PENNSYLVANIA PHOSPHORUS INDICES Karl Czymmek Sebastian Cela Quirine Ketterings Jen Weld Doug Beegle Pete Kleinman
  2. 2. Phosphorus Index: • Ranks fields based on relative risk of generating P runoff. • Motivates implementation of BMPs to reduce P loss from farmer’s fields. • Overlaps Source and Transport indicators. Source Transport Critical Source Area
  3. 3. Variability • Different ratings and P recommendations when different P indices are applied to similar scenarios Issues with earlier P Indices Accuracy • Poor representation of some conditions • Impossible to develop one P index to cover all range condition • Development of Physiographic Region P Index
  4. 4. Addressed to nutrient management planners in NY and PA. Questions related to: • What’s working in the current PI? • Drivers of water quality violations • Practices that should be encouraged and discouraged • The need of a screening tool in the revised PI • State or physiographic boundaries? Survey
  5. 5. Pennsylvania P Index Screening tool • Special protection watershed • Significant management changes • STP > 200 ppm Mehlich 3 • Distance to stream < 150 feet Source factors • Soil test P (Mehlich 3) • Manure P (Rate, Timing x Method, P Availability Coeff.) • Fertilizer P (Rate, Timing x Method) Transport factors • Erosion (RUSLE2) • Runoff potential (Drainage class) • Subsurface drainage • Distance to the stream Modified connectivity • Riparian buffer • Grassed waterway • Direct connection
  6. 6. Source • Soil Test P (STP) • Manure P (Rate, Timing, Method) • Fertilizer P (Rate, Timing, Method) Dissolved Transport • Soil drainage class • Flow distance to stream • Flooding frequency Particulate transport • Erosion (RUSLE2) • Flow distance to stream • Flooding frequency • Concentrated flow Dissolved NY-PI Particulate NY-PI New York P Index
  7. 7. P Index Interpretation Value (NY) Value (PA) Rating Management guidance <50 <60 Low N-based management 50 to 74 60 to 79 Medium N-based management with BMPs 75 to 99 80 to 99 High P applications to crop removal >100 >100 Very High No P can be applied
  8. 8. Survey response rate New York • 37 certified nutrient management planners were approached • 36 planners responded • 58% private sector • 36% public sector Pennsylvania • 200 nutrient management planners approached • 31 planners responded • 19% private sector • 81% public sector
  9. 9. Importance of current PI factors All source and transport factors important Average of planners in Factors NY PA Source Soil Test P 8.0 9.0 Fert. Rate 6.1 7.7 Timing 5.8 6.9 Method 6.4 6.6 Manure Rate 8.5 8.3 Timing 8.5 7.6 Method 8.5 6.9 Transport Drainage class 6.9 - Flooding frequency 7.1 - Distance to a stream 8.5 8.6 Concentrated flow 7.3 - Erosion 7.4 9.0
  10. 10. Reasons for water quality violations Percent of planners in Reasons NY PA Manure applications before rain events 72 23 to frozen soils 50 9 close to streams 33 45 without incorporation 22 0 CNMP not followed 39 9 Unknown geology / Karst soils 19 9 No residue or cover crop 6 5
  11. 11. Top 7 practices the PI should encourage Percentage of planners in Practices NY PA Manure applications with incorporation 58 3 to fields without connectivity 28 0 at lower rates 19 14 Credit cover crops 39 52 setbacks and buffers 36 59 Practices to 22 62 reduce erosion 22 62 improve infiltration 11 21
  12. 12. Top 7 practices the PI should discourage Percentage of planners in Practices NY PA Manure applications to saturated soils 61 4 to fields close to streams 44 21 without incorporation 36 0 to fields with steep slopes 19 4 to fields without crops 14 82 at high rates 22 7 Fall tillage 8 25
  13. 13. Top 7 changes for the PI Percentage of planners in Changes NY PA Weight of coefficients 65 0 Timing of app. 32 0 Flow distance 19 5 Erosion 16 14 Method of app. 16 0 Credit cover crops / residues 23 38 setback, buffers, diversions 16 5 Adjust weighting of coefficients and include cover crops.
  14. 14. Do we need a screening tool? No 64% Yes 36% No 32% Yes 68% New York Pennsylvania NY planners are not in favor of including a screening tool. PA planners would like to continue using their screening tool
  15. 15. State Boundary or Physiographic Region PI? NY planners = mostly in favor of physiographic region PI PA planners = mostly in favor of state-boundary PI NY PA Phys. Region State Boundary Others 0 10 20 30 40 50 NY PA (%ofplanners)
  16. 16. Timing of manure application • Open April and September as “safe” months. • Move away from calendar year, use field conditions and weather forecast. Discourage manure applications • Without incorporation • To saturated soils • To fields close to streams and with steep slopes Evaluate BMPs • Cover crops, setbacks / buffers, crop residues Areas to improve the New York P Index
  17. 17. Pennsylvania P Index How to encourage better management Evaluate all fields with the P Index More credit for best management practices • No-till • Cover crops More clearly defined methods for: • Evaluating field conditions • Communicating options to the farmer • Information documentation Discourage • Winter manure application • Manure application without suitable ground cover Images USDA-NRCS Image Gallery, Bob Nichols
  18. 18. Sebastian Cela Quirine Ketterings Karl Czymmek Jen Weld Doug Beegle Pete Kleinman THANK YOU !!