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A new Phosphorus Index for NY: Part 2: How the P index works.

By Karl Czymmek and Quirine Ketterings

In December e-Leader, we introduced the new NY Phosphorus Index (NY-PI) and provided some background. Farms that are regulated as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) will need to start using the new NY-PI 2.0 when the CAFO Permit is updated (current permits are due to be renewed in 2022). Farms that are in state or federal cost share programs will need to use the tool based on NRCS determination. Agency discussions are in progress to make sure the roll-out is as smooth as possible.

Here is how it works: a farm field is rated based on an assessment of its runoff risk-related transport features, including those observed directly during a field visit and others from normal soil survey information (most of these factors are the same as those used in the old NY-PI). For example, being close to a stream or watercourse, poorly drained soil, or higher levels of soil erosion are some of the risk factors that can lead to a high transport score. For fields with a high transport score, manure and phosphorus fertilizer application practices can be selected to reduce the risk of phosphorus loss. These best/beneficial field management practices (BMPs) cover a combination of changes in application timing (close to planting) and method (placing phosphorus below the soil surface), and more vegetation on the soil surface when phosphorus is applied. Thus, implementation of BMPs will reduce the final NY-PI score. Field practices include manure and fertilizer spreading setbacks, ground cover (sod or cover crops), and placing manure below the soil surface (injection or incorporation). Combined with information about soil test phosphorus levels, the final NY-PI score results in a management implication: if risk is classified as low or medium, manure may be used at N-based rates; if classified as high, manure rate is limited to expected phosphorus uptake by the crop, and if very high, in most cases, no manure or phosphorus fertilizer may be applied. This transport × BMP approach is shown in Figure 1.

Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 5.23.42 PM
  Coefficients were set for the new NY-PI using a database of more than 33,000 New York farm fields supplied by certified nutrient management planners and a second dataset that included data for PI assessment and whole farm nutrient mass balance assessments for 18 New York AFO and CAFO farms. While some farm fields had to have manure diverted, in almost all situations, the NY-PI 2.0 provided a pathway for farms with an adequate land base to both reduce risk and apply the manure generated from their herd.

Stay tuned for documentation and software tools to help with implementation of the new NY-PI.

Cornell Dairy Pricing Survey

Calling all U.S. Dairy Farmers! Interested in how milk handlers pay you for quality and volume? Have a point of view on equitable hauling cost structures? Have preferences for selling to a farmer-owned cooperative or independent milk handler? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then we want to hear from you. Your input will importantly inform how milk handlers consider these issues in alignment with dairy farmer preferences! Deadline February 15. It will take less than 15 minutes. Want to read about the results? Just include your email on the survey. Plus you have a chance to win one of five $100 VISA gift cards! For more information, contact Todd M. Schmit ( or Roberta M. Severson (, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management, Cornell University.

Wednesday Spanish Webinar

January 29, 2020 |  12:30-1:00 PM

Cojera en Vacas Lecheras | Lameness in Dairy Cows

Aprende los básicos de detectar vacas cojas, lo que promueva mejor bienestar de las vacas y ayuda al rancho para ahorrar dinero.
Learn the basics of detecting lame cows, which promotes better animal welfare and helps the farm to save money.

Previous recorded webinars in English cover a range of topics including:
Dairy Cattle Reproductive Management | Dairy Cattle Nutrition | Milk Quality and Milking System Management | Dairy Replacement Management | Herd Health and Cow Comfort | Forage Management | Nutrient Management | Farm Business Management

Northeast Dairy Management Conference: Focus on the Future

Online registration is open for the Northeast Dairy Management Conference “Focus on the Future” March 11 - 12, 2020 at the Holiday Inn, Liverpool, NY.

Previously known as the NEDPA Conference, this biennial conference will continue to offer high-quality programing targeted to progressive dairy farmers in the Northeast. Hosted by Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY and Northeast Dairy Producers Association, the mission remains the same – to provide the latest information on current trends and topics in the dairy industry through dynamic and informative sessions designed to re-energize businesses and improve performance.

The “Focus on the Future” theme includes sessions that feature diverse topics including: on farm technology; protecting your brand; environmental issues updates; and several presentations on navigating changes resulting from the new agricultural labor legislation. In addition to gaining invaluable information for your dairy operations, this conference creates a valuable opportunity to network with other farmers and industry professionals from throughout the Northeast and beyond.

A sneak peak of presenters at the 2020 conference includes: Jay Waldvogel - Dairy Farmers of America; Steve Bodart - Compeer Financial; Phil Plourd – Blimling and Associates; Cheryl Jones - University of Kentucky; Julio Giordano - Cornell University; Chuck Palmer – Michael Best and Friedrich LLP; Emily Stepp - National Milk Producers Federation; Karl Czymmek - Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY; Chris Wolf - Cornell University; Tom Wall - Dairy Coach LLC; and Richard Stup – Cornell Ag Workforce Development.

Additional conference highlights include sponsored pre-conference presentations, NEDPA annual meeting, exhibitor trade show, Popp Award Presentations, labor panel, and networking dinner. Early bird registration ends February 14.

2020 Becker Forum – Farm Labor: Times of Change presentations included:

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For more information about PRO-DAIRY, visit

Julie Berry, Editor | Tom Overton, Director | Facebook

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