Thursday, December 22, 2011

Phosphorus: Fertilizer or Nemesis?

I recently did an interview for the Indiana Lawyer discussing the various ways in which phosphorus regulations have arisen in the past few years. While farmers view phosphorus as a beneficial nutrient for crop production, some environmental groups worry that there can be too much of a good thing.  Reporter Jennifer Montgomery writes:
Fishing, boating and swimming are popular summer pastimes in Indiana, but increasingly, Hoosiers looking for a relaxing weekend at the lake are being warned to avoid the water altogether due to pollution. 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows that in 2010, phosphorus was the cause of impairment for 7,023 acres of Indiana’s lakes, reservoirs and ponds. In excess, the nutrient can cause thick, foul-smelling mats of algae called algal blooms. 
Phosphorus can come from a variety of sources, including fertilizers, and some environmentalists say that regulating the use of phosphorus-fertilizers will reduce its presence in waters. But so far, efforts to institute laws restricting the use of phosphorus have generated little support.
Continue reading the full story at the Indiana Lawyer: Opinions Divided on the Need for Phosphorus Regulation

Phosphorus will be a big topic for Indiana agriculture in 2012.  New confined feeding operation regulations go into effect on July 1, 2012, which will require some large livestock farms to start restricting manure application rates based upon a field's existing phosphorus content.  For other smaller farms, the effects of the new phosphorus restrictions will phase in over the next six years.  More about this topic in a previous post:  New Confined Feeding Operations Approved. 

Posted by Todd Janzen

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