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Dairy Farms Needed to Help Find Best Practices to Reduce Phosphorus Loss

Dairy farms needed for study

Research suggests phosphorus surpluses are common on UK dairy farms. By reducing these surpluses, dairy farms could reap the benefits of minimising phosphorus pollution whilst increasing phosphorus use efficiency and reducing feed costs. Many of you helped with the initial survey, but what practices can be used to achieve this? A PhD project at the University of Reading, in collaboration with Harper Adams University aims to answer the important question: What are the best practices to reduce phosphorus loss on UK dairy farms?

The University is currently recruiting 50 dairy farms across England to sign up. Participating farms are being asked to complete a simple form to collect data on the annual amount of phosphorus being imported into, or exported out of their farm (livestock, feed, fertilizer and milk). In cases where phosphorus contents of feed, manure or soil are unknown, a single farm visit to collect samples for analysis is arranged. These visits should take about an hour and will be done between September 2019 and March 2020.

Get involved

Farms are encouraged to get involved with the incentive that participants will:

  1. Receive a report of their farm’s performance, including phosphorus balance and concentrations in soil, manure and feed.
  2. See the anonymized data of all participating farms to allow for benchmarking of their performance.
  3. Participants will also benefit by receiving the project’s findings, which aim to identify best practices to reduce phosphorus loss.

For more details or to get involved, please contact Brad Harrison:

b.harrison@pgr.reading.ac.uk