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Animal manure has long been recognized as an important source of macro-
(nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) and micronutrients (boron, zinc, sulfur) for plants. In addition, manure application to agricultural lands can improve soil health and promote nutrient cycling. However, frequent applications of manure often result in phosphorus (P) buildup in soils and pose a risk to the environment via runoff or leaching to water systems. NRCS Nutrient Management Code 590 mandates soil testing and site assessment (using Phosphorous-index) to determine the suitability of a cropland to receive manure/litter. If the average soil test P and P-index for the field falls under "very high" range, manure application is discouraged. Currently the Code 590 is undergoing national revision. Although P index and soil test phosphorus (P) levels are used for environmental assessment of P loss risk, these tools do not provide any information or prediction of the life span of application sites i.e. how long P can be applied safely before the site becomes a source of P to the environment. In addition, many Alabama soils are naturally rich in iron (Fe) and aluminum (Al) oxides, which can potentially render P unavailable for plant uptake as well environmental losses.
The Alabama Animal Waste and Nutrient Management team at Auburn University along with the Alabama NRCS and Soil and Water Conservation Committee are working together to find ways to improve guidelines on P management while minimizing the risk of P loss to the environment. The animal waste and nutrient management team at Auburn University will conduct extensive soil sampling across the State of Alabama to understand the P status of the soils and their potential to act as a source or sink of P to the environment. The soil samples will be used to evaluate the current P application criterion and develop new tools for environmental P loss risk assessment. Growers are encouraged to participate and allow sampling of their fields. The information generated from the research will be shared with growers and will greatly benefit them. No site specific information will be shared with any other individuals/institutions. Please get in touch with the Alabama Animal Waste and Nutrient Management team at Auburn University via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 334-734-4937.
Here are some frequently asked question.
Rishi Prasad, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Animal Systems Environmental Specialist
Kent Stanford, Nutrient Management Specialist; Auburn University, Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences and Animal Sciences
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