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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: What Goes in Must Come Out-Phosphorus Balance on Dairy Farms

item Satter, Larry

Submitted to: American Association of Bovine Practitioners Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 28, 2002
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Phosphorus (P) stimulates growth of algae in freshwater lakes and streams. The loss of P in surface runoff from fields that contain excess P are typically greater than from fields managed to supply adequate but not excessive P for crop growth. As dairy operations have increased in size, manure application rates of P have often exceeded plant uptake of P, resulting in elevated soil test P. High levels of P in lactating cow diets exacerbates the problem, since P fed in excess of the cow's requirement is excreted in the feces in a largely soluble form. Removing excess P from dairy diets not only reduces P content of manure, but sharply reduces the amount of soluble P excreted, thus reducing risk of surface runoff. Most lactating dairy cow diets can have their P content reduced by 20%. This results in a 25-30% reduction in P content of manure, and a like reduction in the amount of land required to accommodate the manure.

Last Modified: 4/19/2015
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