Keeping phosphorus on the farm and out of our waterways
The Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District is launching a project that will test a new approach to assess a farm’s risk for phosphorus loss through surface and tile runoff. Using the Ohio Phosphorus Risk Index, farming operations will be evaluated and receive a risk score of “very high risk,” “high risk,” “medium risk,” or “low risk.” Once the score is calculated, the farm decision-makers can select a suite of best management practices to implement which will lower the risk score.
For instance, an operation scores in the high risk category because they have several factors present which allow phosphorus to run off of the farm during rain storms. The decision makers opt to have soil tests done on key fields. The tests reveal high soil phosphorus levels. To remedy this, no phosphorus is applied until the legacy phosphorus is used up. In addition to this, changes are made to tillage operations to reduce soil erosion. Changes like these may move an operation from the high risk category to the medium risk category.
Grant funds provided to the SWCD from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management are available to participants in the project on a per acre basis.
Although the tools of this project can be used on any farm, those located in the following watersheds are eligible to receive the grant funds: Black Creek; Marsh Ditch; Six-Mile Creek; Trier Ditch; and Botterm Ditch.
Please contact Greg Lake or Sharon Partridge at the Allen Co. SWCD office, 260-484-5848 ext. 3, if you are interested in learning more about this new and promising conservation tool.