Ohio crop growers can continue to help reduce excess agricultural nutrients from entering the western basin of Lake Erie by using best management practices recommended by Ohio State University (OSU) Extension experts.
Members of the OSU Extension Agronomic Crop Team have posted several resources to help farmers mitigate agricultural nutrients runoff, reports Greg LaBarge, Extension educator and one of the leaders of the Agronomic Crops Team. The team has developed a publication entitled, “Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybeans, Wheat and Alfalfa E-2567,” which provides information on the basic strategy of nutrient management. The publication can be found online at http://ohioline.osu.edu/e2567/index.html. Tri-state fertilizer recommendation tables have also been updated to provide phosphorus and potassium recommendations that would support potential yields on today’s crops.
Another publication, “Best Management Practices for Mitigating Phosphorus Loss from Agricultural Soils AGF-509-09,” discusses ways to keep phosphorous in place to meet crop needs while protecting water resources. The publication can be downloaded at http://ohioline.osu.edu/agf-fact/pdf/0509.pdf.
Reducing excess agricultural nutrients from entering the western basin of Lake Erie has been the focus of attention for the past two years of a working group of industry professionals, including OSU Extension experts, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The group released recommendations and a report this spring on how agriculture could have a positive role in improving water quality across the state. The report encourages farmers to adopt production guidelines known as "4R Nutrient Management."
The 4R concept refers to using the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time, with the right placement. LaBarge says using the 4Rs as a basic stewardship guideline is a good place for farmers to start.
"Ohio State's involvement was advisory and helps bring research and information to the group to understand the things we can do immediately to lessen nutrients going into Ohio waters," he states.
The extensive “Agricultural Nutrients and Water Quality Working Group Report” can be found online at http://dnr.ohio.gov/portals/12/docs/waterqualityreport.pdf.