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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 21 No. 4, p. 574-578
    Received: May 10, 1991

    * Corresponding author(s):
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An Information Management Technology Program for ex ante Nutrient Loss Reduction from Farms

  1. Beth Lemberg,
  2. William T. McSweeney and
  3. Les E. Lanyon *
  1. Dep. of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802.
    Dep. of Agronomy, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802.



Reducing nutrient losses from farms to the environment can be done before or after the nutrients have been applied to the fields. If effective best management practices can be implemented before nutrients are applied (ex ante), difficult and uncertain remedial management practices can be avoided. The relative environmental and economic consequences of an information management technology program were compared under two contrasting water resource protection perspectives by linear programming simulation of a dairy farm. The information program was based on measuring the amount of materials transferred to and from the fields as crops and manure, and the sampling and analyses of those materials. Potential N losses to the environment were reduced substantially and costs of the information management program were generally more than offset by the savings in fertilizer expenditures compared to the outcome when no credit was given to manure nutrients in the fertilization of farm crops. Exacting requirements for nutrient utilization under a restrictive water resource protection perspective resulted in only a fraction of the total manure produced being spread on the farm fields, however. The negative economic impact of this limitation was potentially much greater than the costs to implement the information management technology program. Standards for both the extent of the information required to adequately meet the environmental expectations and the acceptable range of the expectations must be established if the management practice is to be feasible and successful.

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