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2017 Projects: Whole-Farm Nutrient Balance Assessment

How Does Your Farm Nutrient Balance Compare to Others?

To date, nutrient management regulations in New York and most other states in the US have addressed the Clean Water Act through implementation of the NRCS 590 standard for nutrient management. Losses could be significantly reduced if fewer nutrients were imported onto the farm in the first place. The key solution lies in finding ways to increase nutrient use efficiency on farms and, thereby, decrease nutrient imports and reduce loadings to watersheds. Knowing a farm's nutrient mass balance (NMB) is one step towards improving our understanding of nutrient movement onto, within, and away from the farm. Balances provide a useful and achievable metric for assessing nutrient loadings and potential losses on farms.

Each participating farm will receive its NMB and the summary of all farms to which the NMB could be compared. Active participation by the producers and their advisors (nutrient management planners, nutritionists, accountants) is essential for the development and implementation of BMPs that address the long-term sustainability of the farms. With the development of feasible balances and the optimum operational zone for management (where producers meet feasible balances per acre and per hundredweight), producers and advisors will be better able to identify farm-specific opportunities to reduce nutrient loadings. The project will set the basis for identification of more inclusive nutrient management policies and action plans for the development of BMPs across the cropping, herd, and manure management components of farms. The software facilitates data entry and is available from our website below.

If you are interested in participating, contact Quirine Ketterings (qmk2@cornell.edu or 607-255-3061). You can also write to: Quirine Ketterings, Nutrient Management Spear Program, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, 323 Morrison Hall, Ithaca NY 14853.

Goals

    With the development of feasible balances and the optimum operational zone for management (where producers meet feasible balances per acre and per hundredweight), producers and advisors that participate in the whole-farm mass balance assessment will be better able to identify farm-specific opportunities to reduce nutrient loadings. This sets the basis for identification of more inclusive nutrient management policies and action plans for the development of BMPs across the cropping, herd, and manure management components of farms.

Funding Sources

This project has been sponsored by grants from USDA Conservation Innovation Grants (USDA-CIG), Northern NY Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NESARE).

Additional Resources

  • Input Data Sheets (PDF; 2016 Calendar Year; February 4, 2017)
    • Complete this form and mail to: Quirine Ketterings, Nutrient Management Spear Program, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, 323 Morrison Hall, Ithaca NY 14853.
    • You will recieve your farm N, P and K balance as well as a comparison of your farm data with all farms in the dataset (~600 farms to date)
    • Farm identity is kept confidential.
  • Whole-Farm Nutrient Balance Software (Version 2.0; February 8, 2012).
  • User Manual (Version 1.0; March 28, 2011).
  • Input Data Sheets Instruction Form (PDF; 2016 Calendar Year; January 17, 2017).

Farmer Impact Stories

Fact Sheets

Extension Articles

Journal Articles

  • Cela, S., Q.M. Ketterings, M., Soberon, C. Rasmussen, and K.J. Czymmek (2017). Upper Susquehanna watershed and New York State improvements in nitrogen and phosphorus mass balances of dairy farms.. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 72(1):1-11. http://dx.doi.org/10.2489/jswc.72.1.1.
  • Van Almelo, J., Q.M. Ketterings, and S. Cela (2016). Integrating record keeping with whole-farm nutrient mass balance: A case study. Journal of Agricultural Science 8:22-32. DOI: doi:10.5539/jas.v8n6p22.
  • Cela, S., Q.M. Ketterings, K.J. Czymmek, M. Soberon, and C.N. Rasmussen (2015). Long-term trends of nitrogen and phosphorus mass balances on New York dairy farms. Journal of Dairy Science 98: 7052-7070.
  • Soberon, M., S. Cela, Q.M. Ketterings, C.N. Rasmussen, and K.J. Czymmek (2015). Changes in nutrient mass balances over time and related drivers for 54 New York dairy farms. Journal of Dairy Science 98: 5313–5329. http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2014-9236.
  • Cela, S., Q.M. Ketterings, K.J. Czymmek, M. Soberon, and C.N. Rasmussen (2014). Characterization of N, P, and K mass balances of dairy farms in New York State. Journal of Dairy Science 97: 7614–7632.
  • Soberon, M.A., Q.M. Ketterings, C.N. Rasmussen, and K.J. Czymmek (2013). Whole-farm nutrient balance calculator for New York dairy farms. Journal of Natural Resources and Life Science Education (Renamed Natural Science Education) 42:57-67.
  • Ketterings, Q.M., K.J. Czymmek, D.B. Beegle, L.E. Chase, and C.N. Rasmussen (2012). Systematic nutrient (im) balances in dairy farm systems of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Journal of Agricultural Sciences 4:1-10. DOI:10.5539/jas.v4n11p.