June 25, 2015 - 10:47am -- custer.2

Nutrient Stewardship for Cleaner Water is a new Signature Program for OSU Extension which was implemented in 2014.

IMPLEMENTATION

Implementation has been timely; due to the heightened attention on water quality and nutrient effects in Grand Lake St. Mary’s, Lake Erie and Ohio River Watersheds, farmer awareness is at an all-time high.  Those who are economic/conservation minded are looking for Best Management Practices (BMPs) that will keep their nutrients in their fields.  Concerns about mandatory programs in the future, if voluntary programs are not implemented, are a driver as well.  Private and government sectors have been supportive.

Education is a key component of the signature program. Over 6,000 producers and agri-business persons across Ohio have received water quality education from 50 OSU Extension Educators with a majority sharing by survey that they would change their nutrient management practices as a result of the education meetings.

WATER QUALITY UPDATE

The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and the National Centers for Water Quality Research are providing weekly updates of water quality in Lake Erie. The updates can be found at http://www2.nccos.noaa.gov/coast/lakeerie/bulletin/bulletin_current.pdf. This page can also be found on the signature program web page http://agnr.osu.edu/programs/natural-resources-environmental/nutrient-stewardship-cleaner-water

You will find this figure on the website showing the results of the heavy rains.

Figure 2. Cumulative total phosphorus projected to June 22, compared to the range from 2000-2014 (gray and the most recent past years). The red line and text denotes data through June 22. Projection is based on past date and discharge through June 22. Nutrient loads have surpassed those of 2013 and 2014, but remain below 2011.

LEGAL UPDATE

Peggy Hall provided the Nutrient Management Legislation Update at the ANR Summer Retreat.

New restrictions on fertilizer and manure applications from SB1, effective July 3, 2015.

  1. Fertilizer application restrictions in the western basin. In the western basin, a person may not apply fertilizer (defined as nitrogen or phosphorous) under these conditions.
    1. On snow-covered or frozen soil
    2. When the top two inches of soil are saturated from precipitation
    3. In a granular form when the local weather forecast for the application area contains greater that a 50% chance of precipitation exceeding one inch in a twelve-hour period

Exceptions-the above restrictions do not apply if the fertilizer is:

  1.  Injected into the ground
  2. Incorporated within 24 hours of surface application
  3. Applied onto a growing crop
  1.  Manure application restrictions in the western basin. In the western basin, a person may not surface apply manure (defined as animal excreta), under these conditions.
    1. On snow-covered or frozen soil
    2. When the top two inches of soil are saturated from precipitation
    3. In a granular form when the local weather forecast for the application area contains greater that a 50% chance of precipitation exceeding 1/2 inch in a 24 hour period

Exceptions-the above restrictions do not apply if the manure is:

  1. Injected into the ground
  2. Incorporated within 24 hours of surface application
  3. Applied onto a growing crop
  4. In the event of an emergency the chief of the division of soil and water resources provides a written consent and the application is in accordance with NRCS practice standard code 590
  1. Exemptions for small and medium operations. Small and medium agricultural operations (defined by the number of species, same as ODA permit program) may apply to the chief of the division of soil and water resources for a temporary exemption from restrictions on fertilizer and manure applications.
    1. A medium agricultural operation may be exempt up to July 3, 2016.
    2. A small operation may be exempt up to July 3, 2017
    3. An exempt operation must be working toward compliance, may request technical assistance to reach compliance, and will not be subject to civil penalties for violations.
  2. Enforcement. The ODA has the authority to investigate violations of the above restrictions upon receiving a complaint from any person or receiving any information that suggest a potential violation.  ODA may assess penalties for violations, which may not exceed $10,000 per violation.
  3. Certification requirements for any persons using manure from CAFFs (applies anywhere in Ohio). On 50 acres or more in agricultural production, no person may apply manure from a concentrated animal feeding facility with a permit from ODA unless:
    1. The person has been issued livestock manager certification by ODA.
    2. The person has been certified by ODA through the fertilizer applicator certification program.

RESEARCH UPDATE

Edge of field, small plot research and on farm research continues to be done by OSU Extension personnel.  Nutrient management research is critical for to be able to continue to educate producers on research based Best Management Practices. 

Research is currently being done to determine nutrient loss from fields both via the drainage tile and also surface loss.  This is being done under multiple management practices in paired fields and is being led by Kevin King.

Small plot research continues to be done with multiple inputs to look at responses to all nutrients.  This research is being led the Dr. Steven Culman and includes field specialists and county educators.

On farm research is being done throughout the state to validate what has been found in the small plot research.  Educators and field specialists are doing Nitrogen and Phosphorous response plots in an effort to provide quality research information to Dr. Culman as he looks at updating the Tristate Fertility Guide.

In Darke County we have five manure side dress plots and a nitrogen response plot.

BE PART OF THE SOLUTION

For more information about OSU Extension, Darke County, visit the Darke County OSU Extension web site at www.darke.osu.edu, the OSU Extension Darke County Facebook page or contact Sam Custer, at 937.548.5215.