Nutrients in the Chesapeake

The Problem

Over the course of the last century, the Chesapeake Bay watershed has experienced a significant decline in environmental health. Increasing populations have brought large scale development to the region. While this has provided untold positive impact, it has also had unintended consequences for the Bay. Of greatest concern are excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which find their way into the watershed via residential, industrial and agricultural activities. These nutrients lead to decreased water quality which, over time, has led to declining fisheries and significant economic impacts in the Chesapeake Bay Region at large.

The Effect on Farmers and the Phosphorus Management Tool

Recently, the issue of nutrient loading into the Bay has become a major focal point of economic and political interest, especially within the Chesapeake Bay agricultural community. Both grain farmers and livestock farmers, while accepting their share of responsibility for the problem, have been asked to make significant changes to their operations. In Maryland, the Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT) was signed by Governor Hogan in 2015, and seeks to limit manure application to fields, affecting 18.2% of all state farmlands once implemented.

These regulations and others like them will have direct, negative impacts on local agriculture. Poultry farmers, who currently provide their manure to grain farmers in return for having their chicken houses cleaned out for free, will have nowhere to put their waste. Grain farmers, who currently rely on poultry litter as a fertilizer to offset the cost of buying fertilizer commercially, will be forced to spend more of their money for the same return.

PFED’s Solution

PFED’s Combined AD + NCS technology is the only existing technology capable of catering a product for the specific needs of the Chesapeake Bay Region farmers.

By altering the ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus in the anaerobically digested poultry litter from 1:1 to 5:1, the majority of grain farmers in the Chesapeake Bay region will still be able to use poultry litter as a fertilizer for their fields without increasing the soil’s phosphorus Fertility Index Value (FIV). In fact, PFED’s field amendment will allow some farmers to apply more nitrogen to their fields (as poultry litter) than they do currently. This will save grain farmers money.

Because grain farmers will continue to value poultry litter as a fertilizer, poultry farmers will have a way of disposing of their used litter. Instead of poultry litter becoming a liability, they will enjoy a continued status quo.

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