UVM Extension Receives Grant to Manage Manure
May 11, 2016 by Dr. Heather Darby
University of Vermont (UVM) Extension has received a two-year grant from the State of Vermont to help farmers improve manure management in Franklin County.
The grant, led by Dr. Heather Darby, is part of the state’s Ecosystem Restoration Program, a competitive grant program administered by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources department of environmental conservation. Dr. Darby and her UVM Extension northwest crops and soils (NWCS) team have been working with livestock farmers to optimize crop nutrient use to help protect water quality while producing high-quality and high-yielding crops. The new grant will provide funds to test the use of precision technology to improve manure management in the Jewett Brook Watershed.
The project will use global positioning system (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) to help detect fluctuating nutrient needs within individual farm fields and then enable manure spreaders to adjust application rates to apply just the right amount of manure to meet those needs.
Precisely controlling the application of manure will help farmers optimize this important on-farm nutrient, saving them money and improving the overall health of the soil as well as protecting sensitive environmental areas. If successful, this may become another tool that producers can use to adhere to fertility recommendations in their nutrient management plans.
Dr. Darby and her NWCS team expect to test these precision technology tools on two types of manure spreaders on 1,500 acres over the two-year project period. They will host at least two demonstrations of these tools for interested farmers in the St. Albans Bay Watershed and Franklin County areas.
More information about NWCS research and outreach work, including events regarding this project, can be found at uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil.
Dr. Heather Darby is an agronomic and soils specialist with University of Vermont Extension.