Strategies and Resources for Managing Phosphorus, Protecting Groundwater Highlighted at Ohio’s Farm Science Review

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Cover crops, gypsum applications and a new initiative to develop whole-system solutions to reduce algal blooms and improve water quality were key topics discussed at media event.

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2nd from left: Ohio agronomist Joe Nester describes how gypsum helps keep phosphorus on farm fields. With Nester from left: Ron Chamberlain, GYPSOIL; Nester; Terry Cosby, USDA/NRCS & Andrew Ward, OSU.

Gypsum is a good product. It sequesters phosphorus and holds it in the boundaries of the field and available for crop production.

Water quality and strategies for managing phosphorus in farm fields are hot topics, especially in light of recent drinking water issues in Toledo, Ohio. A group of experts gathered September 16 at The Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review (FSR) to discuss practical tools, government resources, and research that is underway in Ohio related to soil management and water quality.

Presenters at the press conference, sponsored by GYPSOIL brand gypsum, included Joe Nester, independent agronomist and owner of Nester Ag, Bryan, OH, discussed gypsum as a tool for managing soil quality and phosphorus in farm fields; Terry Cosby, state conservationist for Ohio USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service, who described programs to help growers implement cover crops and other conservation practices; and Andrew Ward, professor, Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, The Ohio State University (OSU). Ward reported on the first-ever Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters workshop held earlier in the week to encourage collaboration between researchers, agency, industry, farmers and other industry technical experts to establish whole-system solutions for water quality.

Nester has used gypsum to help farmers loosen tight clay soils and enhance water infiltration for approximately 20 years. Gypsum is calcium sulfate dihydrate (CaSo4 2H2O). It is a highly pure form of gypsum. The calcium in gypsum improves soil particle aggregation which creates better soil structure.

During the past two years, Nester has coordinated field trials for work led by OSU researcher Dr. Warren Dick evaluating gypsum’s impact on water quality. “Gypsum is a good product. It sequesters phosphorus and holds it in the boundaries of the field and available for crop production,” Nester said.

“Preliminary results from the Ohio research indicate that gypsum helps decrease the concentration of soluble reactive phosphorous in farm tile water by more than 50 percent,” noted Ron Chamberlain, lead agronomist for GYPSOIL brand gypsum and moderator for Tuesday’s press conference. “Water quality is our most precious resource and the agricultural community is working to find the best tools and practices to protect it.”

For more information, visit Gypsoil.com.

About GYPSOIL
GYPSOIL is a division and trade name of Beneficial Reuse Management, LLC. Its mission is to help crop growers improve their soils and increase productivity while conserving natural resources and protecting the environment. GYPSOIL brand gypsum is now available through distributors in 21 states in the Midwest, Plains and South, plus Ontario in Canada. GYPSOIL manages gypsum distribution and marketing programs for a wide range of supply partners including utilities and manufacturing companies, diverting valuable co-products from landfill disposal to productive use as agricultural inputs.

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