Skip to main content

Identifying challenges and opportunities for improved nutrient management through U.S.D.A's Dairy Agroecosystem Working Group

Holly, Michael A. and Kleinman, P.J. and Bryant, Ray B. and Bjorneberg, D.L. and Rotz, C.A. and Baker, John M. and Boggess, Mark V. and Brauer, David K. and Chintala, Rajesh and Feyereisen, Gary W. and Gamble, Joshua D. and Leytem, A.B. and Reed, Kristan and Vadas, Peter A. and Waldrip, Heidi (2018) Identifying challenges and opportunities for improved nutrient management through U.S.D.A's Dairy Agroecosystem Working Group. Journal of Dairy Science. 101(7):6632-6641. 26 April 2018.

[img] Text

Download (2MB)


Nutrient management is a priority of U.S. dairy farms, although specific concerns vary across regions and management systems. To elucidate challenges and opportunities to improving nutrient use efficiencies, the USDA’s Dairy Agroecosystems Working Group investigated 10 case studies of confinement (including open lots and free stall housing) and grazing operations in the seven major
U.S. dairy producing states. Simulation modeling was carried out using the Integrated Farm Systems Model over 25 years of historic weather data. Dairies with a preference for importing feed and exporting manure, common for simulated dry lot dairies of the arid west, had lower nutrient use efficiencies at the farm gate than freestall and tie-stall dairies in humid climates. Phosphorus (P) use efficiencies ranged from 33 to 82% of imported P, while N use efficiencies were 25 to 50% of imported N. When viewed from a P budgeting perspective, environmental losses of P were generally negligible, especially from dry lot dairies. Opportunities for greater P use efficiency reside primarily in increasing on-farm feed production and reducing excess P in diets. In contrast with P, environmental losses of nitrogen (N) were 50 to 75% of annual farm N inputs. For dry lot dairies, the greatest potential for N conservation is associated with ammonia (NH3) control from housing, whereas for freestall and tie-stall operations, N conservation opportunities vary with soil and manure management system. Given that fertilizer expenses are equivalent to 2 to 6% of annual farm profits, cost incentives do exist to improve nutrient use efficiencies. However, augmenting on-farm feed production represents an even greater opportunity, especially on large operations with high animal unit densities.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 1638
Subjects: Animal > Feed preference
Manure > Percolation > Nutrient losses
Depositing User: Users 6 not found.
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2018 18:12
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2018 18:12
Item ID: 1682