Farm-System Modeling to EvaluateEnvironmental Losses and ManagementPractice Cost-EffectivenessAndy McLean, Tamie Veith, Al...
Loadings to the Chesapeake BayAgriculture dominates allother sectors for nutrient andsediment contributions57%45%70%Legend...
Study RegionChesapeake BaySusquehanna RiverDauphin CountyLebanon CountyLancasterCounty
Most Beneficial Practices asDetermined by Regional StudiesRank Lancaster CountyInformal Study (2004)CBC (2004) Cost-effect...
ObjectiveSimulate representative farmingsystems for this region to determinethe environmental benefit ofmanagement practic...
Baseline DescriptionsCrop FarmOld Order AmishDairyContemporaryDairy400 ha (1000 ac)4 yr rotationC-SB-C-SB/WWPrimarily n...
Practices InvestigatedFarm Management Cropping StrategiesNutrient ManagementTreatment StrategiesTillage (conv., mulch, no)...
Integrated Farm System Model(IFSM)SoilEstablishCrop HarvestStorageAnimalManureGrazingVolatile lossExported manurePurchased...
Challenges of Modeling an AmishDairy FarmMachinery Differences Machine specifications Operational efficiency Power requ...
Challenges of Modeling an AmishDairy FarmOperational Differences Labor requirements Timing of operations Representing h...
BASELINE RESULTS
Yield Comparison (t DM/ha)IFSMCropIFSMCont.DairyNASSDistrictCons.Corn grain 8.7 (2.0) 7.8 (1.6) 5.9 – 7.9 8.5Corn silage —...
Operational Timing (day of year)IFSMCropIFSM Cont.DairyDistrictCons.Corn plant 129 116 110Corn harvest 284-289 247-286 283...
Amish DairyLabor Requirements (hour)IFSM TotalLaborExtensionEstimateCorn planting 65 99Hay harvest 71 60Corn silage harves...
Avg. Nutrient Loss (kg/ha-yr)IFSMCropIFSMContemp.DairyIFSMAmishDairyChesapeakemodelN volatilized 10.4 69.2 122.7N leaching...
MANAGEMENT PRACTICEPERFORMANCE
-100-50050100150200250300PercentChange-50050100150200PercentChangePhosphorus Runoff Sediment RunoffCrop Farm
-25-20-15-10-50510152025PercentChange-40-20020406080100120140PercentChangeNitrogen Leaching Return to ManagementCrop Farm
-50050100150200250300350400PercentChange-50050100150200250300350400450PercentChangePhosphorus Runoff Sediment RunoffContem...
-50050PercentChange-1001020PercentChangeNitrogen Volatilization Nitrogen LeachingContemporary Dairy
-15-10-505101520PercentChangeReturn to ManagementContemporary Dairy
-100-75-50-25025PercentChange-75-50-25025PercentChangePhosphorus Runoff Sediment RunoffAmish Dairy
-50-25025PercentChange-505101520PercentChangeNitrogen Volatilization Nitrogen LeachingAmish Dairy
-100-75-50-25025PercentChangeReturn to ManagementAmish Dairy
Amish Dairy• No-till• Pasturing• Strip cropping• Cover cropping (baseline)Contemporary Dairy• Cover cropping• Nutrient man...
Most profitable managementpractices for each farmAmish Dairy Farm• Double cropping• Mulch tillageContemporary DairyFarm• N...
Distributions Across 25 Years of WeatherNitrogen lossPhosphorus lossFarm profit
Cost EffectivenessPhosphorus loss Nitrogen loss
Conclusions Most management practices have a nutrienttradeoff - at least as they are modeled in this study Farm operatio...
Application of Results Provide a basis for recommendations byconservation district officials and policymakers Hopefully ...
USDAPasture Systems and WatershedManagement Research UnitUniversity Park, PennsylvaniaAgricultural Research Service
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Farm System Modeling to Evaluate Environmental Losses, Profitability, and BMP Cost-Effectiveness

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http://www.extension.org/67629 To meet Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load requirements for agricultural pollution, conservation districts and farmers are tasked with implementing best management practices (BMPs) that reduce farm losses of nutrients and sediment. The importance of the agricultural industry to the regional economy highlights the need for determining cost-effective BMP solutions given the geographical and operational characteristics of these farms. This study evaluated both the environmental risk and farm profitability of common farm-level management practices for three major farm types in the region: crop, tractor-based ("English") dairy, and horse-drawn ("Amish") dairy.

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  • Mike Hubler and Larry Baum from the Dauphin County Conservation District and officials at the Lancaster and Lebanon County Conservation Districts helped categorize and characterize farms.
  • Source of PA nutrient loadings, as calculated by the Chesapeake Bay Model
  • Study region is 3 counties on East side of Susquehanna River. Loadings drain to river and straight down into Bay.~2500 farmsThe larger farms are feed crop farms (corn/soybean). Average farm size = 40 ha But median = 20 haThe green (good) N area is mountain top forest.
  • Need to properly characterize current and suggested management impacts at the FARM level.If practice changes aren’t economically feasible, or practical with available labor, then they aren’t going to be implemented well and the anticipated pollution reduction will be overstated.
  • Define and characterize categories of farms for Dauphin, Lancaster, and Lebanon Counties of Southeastern PA, so that farms typical of theregion may be represented in IFSM.Simulate current farm conditions as baseline models
  • Apply BMP scenarios to the baseline farm models to evaluate BMP impact on nutrient/sediment losses and farm profitability.4 categories of BMPs investigated, based (roughly) on EPA’s “core four” BMP list. (i.e., the types that EPA has identified as necessary to meet goals)
  • Process-based, farm-scale Outputs are annualaverages over 25 years varying weather Simulates the economics of farm operations- costs, revenues, profit (return)Simulates flow of nutrients in and out of farm boundaries
  • Yields compared well with NASS and local conservation officialsTable 1. Yield comparison (tDM ha-1) based on USDA-NASS (2012) reports, conservation district estimates, and IFSM simulations*. * USDA-NASS (2012): 10-yr averages; Conservation District (personal communication): estimates of recent past; IFSM 25-yr mean (SD).# USDA-NASS = hay; IFSM = 2 cuts hay, 2 cuts silage.
  • Also evaluated operational performance of farms (timing of operations, labor requirements)
  • And
  • Graphs show percentage change from baseline for select scenariosHighlighted scenarios seemed to be the most cost-effective overall for each farm typeCC = Corn (200 ha) and soybeans (200 ha) are only cash crops. A cover crop of winter rye is grown on 100% of the corn land (200 ha) after corn harvest and killed in the spring before soybean planting.100% CC = (100% soybean land has a winter rye cover crop. 100% of corn land is cover cropped with grass. Cover crops are killed in the spring.)
  • Nitrogen:Contemporary Dairy seems to be more consistent but less precise (wider ranges, all centered around roughly the same median) than the crop farm. BUT the crop farm y-axis has a 20t range and the dairy y-axis range is only 10t
  • Distribution and density of agricultural land, elevation, and physiographic regions within a representative subregion of the study area (PennDOT 2012, USDA 2002).
  • A variety of sources were used to gather data and to evaluate model output, to make sure that we were accurately representing these specific farm types in southeastern PA.
  • Output parameters evaluated for determining the impact of the change in management practice
  • SPARROW estimated loadings from agricultural sources delivered to streams and rivers in the Bay watershed (1997 conditions)Total N: red category = 6 to 33 kg/ha/yrP: red = 0.2 to 0.85 kg/ha/yrSed: red = 30 to 238 Mg/km = 3,000 to 23,800 t/ha (or 300 to 2,380 kg/ha)http://stat.chesapeakebay.net/?q=node/130&quicktabs_10=1&quicktabs_15=1
  • Farm System Modeling to Evaluate Environmental Losses, Profitability, and BMP Cost-Effectiveness

    1. 1. Farm-System Modeling to EvaluateEnvironmental Losses and ManagementPractice Cost-EffectivenessAndy McLean, Tamie Veith, Al Rotz,Jim Hamlett, Jim ShortleUSDA-ARS Pasture Systems and WatershedManagement Research Unit & ThePennsylvania State University
    2. 2. Loadings to the Chesapeake BayAgriculture dominates allother sectors for nutrient andsediment contributions57%45%70%LegendAgriculturePoint SourceForestDeveloped
    3. 3. Study RegionChesapeake BaySusquehanna RiverDauphin CountyLebanon CountyLancasterCounty
    4. 4. Most Beneficial Practices asDetermined by Regional StudiesRank Lancaster CountyInformal Study (2004)CBC (2004) Cost-effectivestrategies for the Bay1 Nutrient management plan Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades2 Cover crops Diet and Feed Adjustments3 Management advice Traditional Nutrient Management4 Structural field practices Enhanced Nutrient Management5 Conservation tillage Conservation Tillage6 Implement farm conservationplanCover Crops7 Cultural field practices (crop rotation, etc.)8 Develop farm conservation plan9 Grass buffers, 15-ft10 Animal waste system
    5. 5. ObjectiveSimulate representative farmingsystems for this region to determinethe environmental benefit ofmanagement practices and determinetheir economic value to the producer
    6. 6. Baseline DescriptionsCrop FarmOld Order AmishDairyContemporaryDairy400 ha (1000 ac)4 yr rotationC-SB-C-SB/WWPrimarily no-tillImport poultry manure& some starter fertilizer100 cows120 ha (300 ac)8 yr rotation2(Cg)-2(Cs/WW)-4(Hay)Primarily no-tillLow grain to forage50% rented fields50 cows24 ha (60 ac)8 yr rotation4(Cs/WW)-4(Alfalfa)Conventional-tillHigh grain to forageHorse-drawn methods
    7. 7. Practices InvestigatedFarm Management Cropping StrategiesNutrient ManagementTreatment StrategiesTillage (conv., mulch, no)Strip croppingManure storage (4, 6, 12 month)Manure reallocation among cropsManure application(broadcast, immediate incorp.) Field-edge grass bufferCrop conversion(50% silage to grazed pasture)Cover Crop(mulch winter grain)Double Crop(harvest winter grain)Dietary P (100%, 120% of NRC)Dietary N (100%, 110% of NRC)Tests against prior methods
    8. 8. Integrated Farm System Model(IFSM)SoilEstablishCrop HarvestStorageAnimalManureGrazingVolatile lossExported manurePurchased feed,bedding, etc.Feed soldVolatilelossFixednutrientsVolatile lossPurchasedfertilizerRunoff &Leaching lossMilk andanimalsEngine exhaust
    9. 9. Challenges of Modeling an AmishDairy FarmMachinery Differences Machine specifications Operational efficiency Power requirements Costs Horses vs. TractorsCorn Harvest
    10. 10. Challenges of Modeling an AmishDairy FarmOperational Differences Labor requirements Timing of operations Representing horses
    11. 11. BASELINE RESULTS
    12. 12. Yield Comparison (t DM/ha)IFSMCropIFSMCont.DairyNASSDistrictCons.Corn grain 8.7 (2.0) 7.8 (1.6) 5.9 – 7.9 8.5Corn silage — 16 (2.3) 16 16 – 21Soybeans 2.8 (0.3) — 2.2 – 2.7 2.9Small grain 4.2 (0.4) 1.8 (0.2) 3.0 – 3.9 5.2Alfalfa — 9.4 7.7 11 – 13.5
    13. 13. Operational Timing (day of year)IFSMCropIFSM Cont.DairyDistrictCons.Corn plant 129 116 110Corn harvest 284-289 247-286 283Wheat plant 297 309 293Wheat harvest 183-184 118-116 176-186Soybean plant 133 130Soybean harvest 289-294 288-298Hay harvest 4 cuttings 3-5 cuttings
    14. 14. Amish DairyLabor Requirements (hour)IFSM TotalLaborExtensionEstimateCorn planting 65 99Hay harvest 71 60Corn silage harvest 335 270Small grain planting 55 40Manure handling 349 360
    15. 15. Avg. Nutrient Loss (kg/ha-yr)IFSMCropIFSMContemp.DairyIFSMAmishDairyChesapeakemodelN volatilized 10.4 69.2 122.7N leaching 29.7 20.8 44.8N denitrified 16 14.5 35.3P runoff(sed+sol)1.2 0.4 1.7 0.19-0.84P buildup 8.9 -4.6 28.2Erosion 2132 294 2381 1424-2376
    16. 16. MANAGEMENT PRACTICEPERFORMANCE
    17. 17. -100-50050100150200250300PercentChange-50050100150200PercentChangePhosphorus Runoff Sediment RunoffCrop Farm
    18. 18. -25-20-15-10-50510152025PercentChange-40-20020406080100120140PercentChangeNitrogen Leaching Return to ManagementCrop Farm
    19. 19. -50050100150200250300350400PercentChange-50050100150200250300350400450PercentChangePhosphorus Runoff Sediment RunoffContemporary Dairy
    20. 20. -50050PercentChange-1001020PercentChangeNitrogen Volatilization Nitrogen LeachingContemporary Dairy
    21. 21. -15-10-505101520PercentChangeReturn to ManagementContemporary Dairy
    22. 22. -100-75-50-25025PercentChange-75-50-25025PercentChangePhosphorus Runoff Sediment RunoffAmish Dairy
    23. 23. -50-25025PercentChange-505101520PercentChangeNitrogen Volatilization Nitrogen LeachingAmish Dairy
    24. 24. -100-75-50-25025PercentChangeReturn to ManagementAmish Dairy
    25. 25. Amish Dairy• No-till• Pasturing• Strip cropping• Cover cropping (baseline)Contemporary Dairy• Cover cropping• Nutrient management• Strip cropping• No-till (baseline)Crop Farm• Cover cropping• Double cropping• No-till• Strip cropping• Grass bufferBest environmental practices foreach farm?
    26. 26. Most profitable managementpractices for each farmAmish Dairy Farm• Double cropping• Mulch tillageContemporary DairyFarm• Nutrient management• Reduced manure storageCrop Farm• Cover cropping• Double cropping• Nutrient management• Reduced tillage
    27. 27. Distributions Across 25 Years of WeatherNitrogen lossPhosphorus lossFarm profit
    28. 28. Cost EffectivenessPhosphorus loss Nitrogen loss
    29. 29. Conclusions Most management practices have a nutrienttradeoff - at least as they are modeled in this study Farm operation/strategy/location may have asignificant impact on which practices are best Double cropping shows great potential Cost-effective reductions from ―low-hangingfruit‖ Corn appears to be water limited, not nutrientlimited, therefore we may be over-applying nutrients tocorn Profitability and the environment benefited fromtransferring manure nutrients from corn to small grain
    30. 30. Application of Results Provide a basis for recommendations byconservation district officials and policymakers Hopefully encourages farmers to experiment withthese practices
    31. 31. USDAPasture Systems and WatershedManagement Research UnitUniversity Park, PennsylvaniaAgricultural Research Service

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