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July 29-330-Aaron Lauster

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2019 SWCS International Annual Conference
July 28-31, 2019
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Published in: Environment
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July 29-330-Aaron Lauster

  1. 1. Mission Support Services Operations Associate Chief Area Stewardship Tool for Environmental Protection (STEP) Aaron Lauster July 29, 2019 Water Quality
  2. 2. Cropland Stewardship Achievement 2
  3. 3. Mission Support Services RSE: Water Quality The treatment must fit not only the needs and adaptabilities of the land but the needs and adaptabilities of the farmer as well. – Hugh Hammond Bennett 3
  4. 4. Finding the Sweet Spot for Tools DataCollectionEffort Site Characterization Assessment, Design, and Practice Implementation Tools Planning and Evaluation Tools Screening Questions RS Guiding Principle Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. - Albert Einstein 4
  5. 5. Stewardship Tool for Environmental Performance (STEP) 5 • Developed for the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) • Founded on work using the Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender Model (APEX) • Utilizes NRCS’s 30,000+ National Resource Inventory (NRI) points for calibration • Sets thresholds for management based on site vulnerability based on National Stewardship Threshold targets
  6. 6. Water Quality Indicators & Thresholds Key Indicator Threshold Target Total Phosphorus (Runoff Focused) P loss less than or equal to 3 lbs./acre Soluble Phosphorus (Leaching Focused) P loss less than or equal to 1 lbs./acre Nitrogen to Surface Water N loss less than or equal to 15 lbs./acre Nitrogen to Ground Water N loss less than or equal to 25 lbs./acre Sediment Management Sediment loss Less than or equal to 2 tons/acre 6
  7. 7. It all begins with Soils 7 Starts with evaluating site vulnerability and setting the threshold: • Determine Soil Leaching and Runoff Potential • Cross reference climate to set management threshold needed to achieve target threshold • Modify based on local conditions (such as drainage, irrigation, high water table)
  8. 8. Soil Leaching Potential 8 Soil leaching potential Hydrologic Group A Hydrologic Group B Hydrologic Group C Hydrologic Group D Low=0 None None None All except Histisol or Apparent HWT Moderate=1 None Slope < 12 and K >0.24, or slope >12, and not Histisol or Apparent HWT All except Histisol or Apparent HWT None Moderately high=2 Slope >12 and not Histisol or Apparent HWT >3 Slope <12 and K <0.24 and not Histisol or Apparent HWT None None High=3 Slope <12 or Histisol or Apparent HWT Slope <3 and K <0.24 or Histisol or Apparent HWT Histisol or Apparent HWT Histisol or Apparent HWT
  9. 9. Soil Runoff Potential 9 Soil Runoff potential Hydrologic Group A Hydrologic Group B Hydrologic Group C Hydrologic Group D Low=0 All Slope<4 Slope<2 Slope <2 and K <0.28 and no Apparent or Perched HWT Moderate=1 None >4 Slope <6 and K <0.32 >2 Slope <6 and K <0.28 Slope <2 and K >0.28 and no Apparent or Perched HWT Moderately high=2 None >4 Slope <6 and K >0.32 >2 Slope <6 and K >0.28 >2 Slope <4 and no Apparent or Perched HWT High=3 None Slope >6 Slope >6 Slope >4 and no Apparent or Perched HWT, *Apparent or Perched HWT
  10. 10. Nitrogen Loss to Surface Water 10 Modified R Factor Class Runoff Potential <=50 >50-150 >150- 250 >250 High 35 65 85 100 Moderately High 30 35 65 85 Moderate 30 30 35 65 Low 25 30 30 35
  11. 11. Building your Management System 11 Building your management system to compare to the various thresholds includes 3 parts: • Crops Rotation • Nutrient Management o Rate o Timing o Method o Form • Conservation Practices
  12. 12. Crop Rotation 12 Each Crops residue value and winter cover residue are determined, modified by tillage. Management Points have been established for each residue value average as it affects each Key Indicator Example: No-Till Corn/Soybean Rotation No Cover Crop Medium Residue Cover Crop after both crops Residue Value 1.5 2.5 Management Points 8 15
  13. 13. Nutrient Management 13 RSE evaluates the Rate, Timing, Method, and Form for each crop and their effect on each Nutrient Pathway. Rate: Generates results from 0-20 management points and if effected by soil test results for phosphorus Timing: Generates results from 0-35 management points based on application timing and splits Method: Generates results from 0-15 based on the method of applications Form is works into the individual questions for Rate, Timing, and Method as well as various management techniques.
  14. 14. Conservation Practices 14 Conservation Practices and Management Techniques are evaluated based on the Avoid, Control, Trap (ACT) principle. Some examples: Practice Nitrogen Surface Nitrogen Groundwater Total Phosphorus Soluble Phosphorus Drainage Water Management (554) 5 10 5 5 Filter Strip (393) 30 ft min width 5 0 10 0 Irrigation Water Management (449) 1 10 1 5 Nutrient Application Form - Slow or Time Release Nitrogen Fertilizers 10 10 0 0 Nutrient Application Form -Nitrification Inhibitors 0 10 0 0 Nutrient Application Rate - Adjust based on Cornstalk Nitrate Test 5 5 0 0 Nutrient Application Rate - Nutrient Application Set-backs 5 0 5 5 Nutrient Application Rate - Precision Application 10 10 10 10
  15. 15. Results 15 Key Indicator Threshold System Total Residue Nutrient Mgmt Practices Total Phosphorus 50 65 8 30 27 Soluble Phosphorus 45 40 0 20 20 Nitrogen to Surface Water 35 39 8 30 9 Nitrogen to Ground Water 60 25 0 20 5 Sediment Management 10 45 30 0 15 No Till Corn/Soybeans on a high leaching site in Iowa
  16. 16. Cropland Stewardship Achievement 16
  17. 17. Effects of Programs -100,000 -50,000 0 50,000 100,000 150,000 200,000 250,000 Total Nitrogen (lbs) Soil Carbon Loss (lbs) Iowa RSE Pilot Results Benchmark Planned RS Threshold 40% Reduction 60% Reduction 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 Sediment (tons) Total Phosphorus (lbs) Iowa RSE Pilot Results Benchmark Planned RS Threshold 70% Reduction 40% Reduction Fields Acres Change in Key Environmental Indicators Sediment (tons) Total Nitrogen (lbs) Total Phosphorus (lbs) Soil Carbon (lbs) 25 987 2,900 28,400 4,400 118,700 The referenced numbers reflect all RS evaluations which have completed a benchmark and planned alternative. Values are estimated from CEAP analysis of the effects of meeting thresholds and the RSE results of individual fields. 17
  18. 18. Interoperability • Metric Harmonization • Data Sharing • User Privacy • User Service How do we best serve farmers and tell the Conservation Story together? 18
  19. 19. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. Questions 19

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