New publication teaches livestock operators how to mitigate high-phosphorus soils

Managers of Idaho’s confined animal feeding operations can download a new University of Idaho bulletin to learn how to avoid or reduce high soil phosphorus levels in fields receiving manure. The 30-page bulletin, “Mitigating High-Phosphorus Soils,” highlights the environmental and nutrient management issues related to phosphorus on Idaho livestock operations and helps producers meet the legally defined standards for adding phosphorus.

Available at http://www.info.ag.uidaho.edu/pdf/BUL/BUL0851.pdf , the on-line bulletin not only helps livestock operators to be in compliance with the law but to be sure their operation is in long-term balance in terms of phosphorus added to or removed from soil. An essential nutrient for crop and animal production, phosphorus can accelerate nuisance aquatic growth in freshwater, depleting life-sustaining oxygen for fish and producing toxins harmful to fish, shellfish and other animals.

“This isn’t just an engineering publication,” said co-author Brad Brown, a University of Idaho Extension crop management specialist in Parma. “It’s unique in that it covers the entire front of phosphorus-management issues, particularly as they relate to the Idaho statute. For producers whose livestock operations come under the standard for manuring, this pretty well addresses what they need to be concerned about. It should meet a very real need in southern Idaho and other areas.”

The publication presents strategies for balancing phosphorus inputs with outputs, including optimizing phosphorus use efficiency, refining animal feed rations, processing manure, moving manure from surplus to deficit areas, sampling manure prior to application, and refining cropping systems.

Other authors include Mireille Chahine, Mario de Haro Marti and Christi Falen — all current University of Idaho Extension faculty members — and former faculty member Ron Sheffield, now of Louisiana State University. The publication drew from research-based information developed within and beyond Idaho.

A printed version may be available in the future. For more information, contact Brown via phone: 208-722-6701 or e-mail: bradb@uidaho.edu.

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