FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:
Maria Woldt, communications
Yahara Pride Farms
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Farmers in Yahara Watershed dramatically reduce phosphorus delivery in 2016
BROOKLYN, Wis (Aug. 7, 2017) – Yahara Pride Farms (YPF) has just released its 2016 Annual Report that documents information and research on the reductions in phosphorus delivered to nearby surface waters by farmers in the Yahara watershed in 2016. YPF has measured on-farm results for four years, but this is the first year that an annual report has been compiled to share program outcomes with the public.
Aided in part by cost-share dollars, farmers have made changes to their farming practices that have resulted in more that 27,000 pounds of documented phosphorus remaining on the land and thus not entering surface water since the group began in 2012.
“Farmers in this watershed are committed,” said Jeff Endres, a dairy farmer from Waunakee, Wis. and chairman of YPF. “We have a role to play in water quality, and we take that responsibility seriously – this report documents our work.”
Highlights of the report include:
- A commitment by farmers to reduce soil loss and phosphorus to the Madison chain of lakes
- Documentation about how specific farming practices are reducing phosphorus
- The data set is made up of farms in the Yahara watershed, all numbers are from the Yahara watershed
- Data shows that farms are reducing phosphorus loses from their fields
- Long-term, this report provides hope and assurance that agriculture nutrient losses are being addressed
- More than 11,000 lbs. of documented phosphorus reduction in 2016; 27,000 lbs. since 2012
- There are barriers to water quality in Dane County, such as legacy phosphorus, that are beyond farmer’s control
In 2016, five practices were promoted by YPF: Strip tillage, low-disturbance manure injection, low-disturbance deep tillage with cover crops, cover crops and headland stacking of manure. Additional data was collected for combining practices, continuing a practice for multiple years and combined practices over time.
The report breaks down phosphorus delivery reduction achieved, along with the number of acres and the cost per pound of phosphorus for each practice. It is important to note that conservation techniques endorsed by YPF have been adopted as best-management practices for farmers in the program. For each practice, the number of acres without cost-share far exceeds the number of acres with cost-share.
“Together, we have created a culture of continuous improvement among farmers in the watershed,” said Endres. “We rely on our community partners to support this paradigm shift both with their investment and their belief that we must strive for excellence to sustain our farms.”
The YPF board of directors and resource managers are available for group presentations and individual questions. The report is available for free download at yaharapridefarms.org.
About Yahara Pride Farms: Established in 2012, Yahara Pride Farms is a farmer-led 501c(3) non-profit organization that strives to preserve agricultural heritage while simultaneously encouraging farmers to engage in proactive environmental stewardship within the Yahara Watershed. Participating farms employ practices that result in the preservation and enhancement of soil and water resources for today, and for generations to come. In 2016, farmers in the program reduced phosphorus delivery to Madison lakes and the Yahara River by 11,000 lbs. Since 2012, farmers have documented a total phosphorus delivery reduction of 27,000 lbs. For more information, visit yaharapridefarms.org.
Editor’s Note: [Photos]
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Low-disturbance manure injection is a manure application technique that injects nutrients directly into the soil where they can be utilized most effectively (versus applied on top of the soil). A low-disturbance method of injection is used to reduce erosion in this process.
Cover crops are grasses, legumes, small grains or other crops grown between regular grain crop production periods for the purpose of protecting and improving the soil. The most common cover crops are fall-seeded cereals, such as rye, barley or wheat, and fall-seeded annual ryegrass.
Headland stacking of manure is when farmers stack bedded pack material and wait for low-risk runoff conditions before spreading.