You've reached the Virginia Cooperative Extension Newsletter Archive. These files cover more than ten years of newsletters posted on our old website (through April/May 2009), and are provided for historical purposes only. As such, they may contain out-of-date references and broken links.

To see our latest newsletters and current information, visit our website at

Newsletter Archive index:

Virginia Cooperative Extension - Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Phosphorus Study Update

Dairy Pipeline: February 2009

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

teal bar

The Virginia Phosphorus Feeding Incentive Program has now been underway for three years with the first herds that started in January 2006 finishing the project. The program has now had 160 herds complete enough samplings to have at least one yearly summary of phosphorus feeding levels. There was a reduction of phosphorus fed and thus excreted of 2.65 lbs. per cow per year or 32.6 total tons per year in the 24,522 cows in these herds. In addition approximately $100,000 has been approved for incentive payments and $118,719 in free feed testing has been spent in support of better feeding management to reduce environmental pollution potential from dairy farms. Over the next two years the remainder of the herds on the project will be completing. Some lessons learned are:

  1. Nutritionists and dairymen are not hesitant to remove inorganic sources of phosphorus from rations if P requirements are met.
  2. Forages and pastures do not always have low levels of phosphorus.
  3. High corn prices appear to have increased the use of high phosphorus by-product feeds in 2008.
  4. Ration modification to select low phosphorus feeds is not typically done.

I want to say thanks to those of you that have participated or are currently participating in this project. It demonstrates that the dairy industry can work together to solve problems that we confront. Federal (Natural Resources Conservation Service) and state (Department Conservation and Recreation and Cooperative Extension) agencies along with Virginia Tech have worked closely on this project to the mutual benefit of all.

teal bar

Visit Virginia Cooperative Extension