Cropping systems for sustainable nutrient management and dairy production

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2007: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Grant Recipient: Texas A&M University
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Donald Vietor, PhD
Texas A&M University, Soil & Crop Sciences

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: oats, rye, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Additional Plants: ornamentals
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, manure management, pasture fertility
  • Crop Production: multiple cropping, nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers, tissue analysis
  • Soil Management: composting, nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil analysis, soil microbiology, soil quality/health

    Proposal abstract:

    Intensification of dairy production within Texas and other southeastern states has led to concerns over nutrient and waste management effects on environmental quality. The purpose of this project is to evaluate cropping systems that enable sustainable nutrient management and improved environmental quality for dairy production systems in the southeastern US. Nutrient imports, exports, and forms in soil will be compared between Tifton 85 bermudagrass grown for forage and Tifway bermudagrass turf under field conditions and varied manure management practices. In addition, mineralization and sorption studies will be conducted under laboratory conditions to evaluate responses of soil biological and chemical processes to manure nutrients and to relate those processes to nutrient export and environmental quality. Furthermore, relationships of manure management to runoff losses of nutrients and carbon will be evaluated under simulated rainfall for each the forage and turfgrass production systems. The evaluation of manure management practices for the forage and turfgrass production systems is expected to enable producers to optimize and improve net export of nutrients from dairies while protecting water quality. Diverse cropping systems and proper management of manure and nutrients will lead to environmentally responsible and economically viable dairy production in the southeastern US.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Compare forage and turfgrass sod production systems with respect to 1.) field-scale nutrient imports and exports and 2.) responses of plant and soil biological and chemical processes to manure management practices.

    2. Compare runoff losses of N, P, and organic C among manure management practices for forage and turfgrass sod production systems.

    3. Compare mass balance of N and P on field and dairy scale between manure management practices and forage and turfgrass sod production systems.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.