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By MAA
BROOKLYN, Wis – Farmers in the Yahara River watershed dramatically reduced phosphorus delivery in 2016, according to the Yahara Pride Farms (YPF) 2016 annual report.
The report documents information and research on the reductions in phosphorus delivered to nearby surface waters by farmers in 2016. YPF has measured on-farm results for four years, but this is the first year an annual report has been compiled to share program outcomes with the public.
Aided in part by cost-share dollars, farmers have made changes to their farming practices since Yahara Pride was founded in 2012 that prevented more that 27,000 pounds of documented phosphorus remaining on the land and thus not entering surface water. YPF is a farmer-led 501c(3) non-profit organization that strives to preserve agricultural heritage while simultaneously encouraging farmers to engage in proactive environmental stewardship within the Yahara Watershed.

“Farmers in this watershed are committed,” said Jeff Endres, a Waunakee dairy farmer and chairman of YPF. “We have a role to play in water quality, and we take that responsibility seriously --this report documents our work.”
Report highlights include:
  • A commitment by farmers to reduce soil loss and phosphorus to the Madison chain of lakes
  • Documentation about how specific farming practices are reducing phosphorus
  • The data set is made up of farms in the Yahara watershed, all numbers are from the Yahara watershed
  • Data shows that farms are reducing phosphorus loses from their fields 
In 2016, five phosphorus reducing practices were promoted by YPF: Strip tillage, low-disturbance manure injection, low-disturbance deep tillage with cover crops, cover crops and headland stacking of manure. Additional data was collected for combining practices, continuing a practice for multiple years and combined practices over time.
The report breaks down phosphorus delivery reduction achieved, along with the number of acres and the cost per pound of phosphorus for each practice. It is important to note that conservation techniques endorsed by YPF have been adopted as best-management practices by farmers in the program. For each practice, the number of acres without cost-share far exceeds the number of acres with cost-share.
“Together, we have created a culture of continuous improvement among farmers in the watershed,” Endres said. “We rely on our community partners to support this paradigm shift both with their investment and their belief that we must strive for excellence to sustain our farms.”
The report can be downloaded for free at yaharapridefarms.org.
 


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