cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

Well there`s a lot of causes to the Gulf dead zone.   Look at the population explosion of Chicago, Minneapolis, Quad Cities, St Louis area and all the tributaries draining into the Mississippi.  All these people and their pets pooping and flushing and washing clothes and fertilizing their lawn (winning yard of the week!).   And in suburbia your dogs poop on the lawn and you fertilize and a 5" rain comes and it washes into the storm drain on the street and right into the river that finds it`s way to the Gulf.

 

Many farmers have deficient soils in phosphorus to raise the 250 bushel corn that they have, so the crops raised in many cases utilize the N and P applied and could actually use more.  I think we have the heavy rain events and the N and P wash into a tile outlet or the ditch, there`s a point source there but only a part of the problem.  Some N and P loss will have to be tolerated or people will starve.  

 

Grass strips funded by the gov`t are a reasonable compromise, because "all water finds it`s way to the river" and just because someone doesn`t live next to a stream doesn`t mean they should get by without bearing some of the expense. 

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

Some N goes out tile. You're not going to eliminate that entirely. You can reduce the overall load.

 

P is pretty immobile and a lot of that in the system is attached to eroded soil-buffer strips really reduce that.*

 

Although I'm at a loss for a policy to address it, I'd also try to encourage deep banding, injection etc.

 

A realistic goal is to reduce the dead zone rather than grow it as we have pretty consistently since the ethanol age kicked off.

 

*I've shared this observation and guess before, but anyway. I was at the ever popular Ohio State Manure Day a few year ago and an NRCS tech showed a slide presentation from up in the lakebed soils near Toledo. Those are heavily tiled and it has a very high clay content and cracks very deeply when it dries out. In dry conditions they plugged one end of a tile line, threw a smoke bomb in the other and plugged it. Smoke started coming out all along the line.

 

The 2015 algae event occurred in later July. It was dry then and of course the big livestock operations tend to start injecting manure as soon as wheat comes off. Under those circumstances, the manure is going to run right into those lines with very little dilution and right down to the Maumee and the lake.

 

Point being that even in cases where they're meeting regs, operating at the ag engineering state of the art etc. there are certain places/conditions where it doesn't work. People will yell bloody murder as far as addressing those exceptions. Which ought to be addressed specifically as exceptions, not as broad regulations.

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

BTW, ag is clearly the #1 contributor although pointing at other sources helps the industry avoid more regulations.

 

And yes, those other sources such as storm/sanitary systems that aren't fully separate should be addressed too.

rumor has it

has it, although I can't back it up, that Scott Pruitt and his 18 man security detail (which you pay for) regularly line up,drop trou and take a dump in the might Miss.

 

Point being this whole thing is on nobody's radar right now so don't worry. I'm just keeping score.

BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

I don`t know what a grain farmer can do beyond filter strips, keeping P out of "very high" range and using cover crops where possible...I think after that, the public has to say "well, the farmer is doing his part, we don`t wanna starve we gotta look at other sources".   I think CAFOs are a can of worms too.  But it was only in the 1950`s that the dead zone appeared, farmers farmed back then and cultivated (soil erosion) some with a barn by a river would pitch it right into the stream and raised hogs in the pasture and septic tanks draining into field tile and stuff.

 

Well the US population has doubled and pretty lawns and stuff since the 50`s.  Grain farmers are actually the most doing their part in preventing this, for one thing we can`t afford to over fertilize with corn being <$3.

AllenJwi
Senior Contributor

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

Same rules need to apply to everyone not just farmers.

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

Agriculture is 90% of the land use in the watershed and 60-80% of the problem.

Canuck_2
Senior Contributor

Re: Gulf dead zone record size


@AllenJwi wrote:

Same rules need to apply to everyone not just farmers.


That is what I was saying farmers should be treated the same.

If an industry or town is polluting then THEY are the ones that have to pay to fix it.

 

Why should farmers get paid to fix what they are doing that impacts the environment?

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

Have you ever been to a golf course?

r3020
Senior Advisor

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

Almost ever city in the US dumps raw sewage in the river after a big rain. The storm sewers and drain sewers are one and the same. To fix it will take 100s of billions and bankrupt most of the cities in the country. So, no, we are not all treated the same.