Farmers are under increasing pressure to protect the environment. Recent research has shown that soils can become saturated with phosphorus (P). When this happens P becomes soluble and can move with rain runoff into streams. Phosphorus concentrations in streams at the parts per billion levels have been shown to increase algae blooms and eutrophication of surface water. Excessive nitrogen applications have also been leading to high nitrates in water sources.
There are solutions to these runoff problems. Extension on-farm workshops demonstrate best management practices to divert clean water and to prevent soil erosion using vegetative cover. The Adapt-N computer program enables more accurate topdressing of nitrogen on field corn. Soil testing at the UConn lab reduces excess fertilizing of field crops. To improve water quality of Connecticut’s waters, livestock producers are encouraged to limit nutrient application by soil testing; divert clean water away from manure wastes; and maintain vegetation on fields to prevent erosion and waste runoff. If farms cannot manage their farms without polluting the environment they will be forced out of business, and Connecticut consumers will pay more for food to be imported from out of state.
Sustainable Dairy, Meat, and Fiber Production
Dairy and livestock producers need to increase sustainability by using high quality forages and low grain diets. UConn Extension provides rotational grazing and pasture management information to dairy and livestock farmers as well as agricultural service providers.
Many landowners are interested in raising livestock for direct marketing of meat, dairy, and fiber products. Dairy farms are investing in alternative marketing routes, and purchasing processing equipment. UConn Extension’s programs identify best management practices to create a profitable dairy or livestock enterprise.