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Virginia Cooperative Extension - Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Updates On The Phosporus Feeding Incentive Program And Feed Management Plan Development

Dairy Pipeline: November 2007

Charlie Stallings
Extension Dairy Scientist, Nutrition & Forage Quality
(540) 231-3066;

The incentive feeding project was started in January 2006 and two hundred and fifteen Virginia dairy farms signed on to the program. At the end of the first year of feed testing a yearly summary is provided to qualifying farms and eligibility for payment is calculated. Three groups have completed the first year and over $30,000 of incentive payments have been—or are in the process of being—paid from funds provided by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

What are we seeing? First, an awareness is being established about levels of phosphorus in rations and what feeds contribute to higher levels. Second, we are seeing an overall reduction of phosphorus in rations of herds that stay on a regular feed testing program.

Feed Management, including but not limited to reduced phosphorus feeding, is an area of voluntary participation for a comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan. Maryland and Pennsylvania NRCS are currently working out the details of how they will handle payment for this process in their states. With certified nutritionists needed to develop feed management plans, a training/certification program has been scheduled in Pennsylvania for November 2007 and Virginia nutritionists are invited to participate. Virginia NRCS will likely follow what surrounding states adopt but at a later date.

Feed management is an area where significant reductions are possible in manure nutrient output and benefits can be obtained when developing nutrient management plans.

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