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Dairy farmers can adapt to climate change


Warming climate worsens nutrient pollution but lengthens growing season

The researchers found that double cropping increased and stabilized the farm’s feed production by providing forage from a winter rye crop (shown) with less dependency on the summer crops of corn silage and perennial cool-season grasses. Credit: Heather Karsten. All Rights Reserved. UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Dairy farmers in the Northeast — facing a warming climate that exacerbates nutrient pollution but lengthens the growing season — can reduce the environmental impact of their operations and maximize revenues by double cropping and injecting manure into the soil, rather than broadcasting it.

That’s the conclusion of a team of researchers, led by Penn State agroecologists, whose new study evaluated whole-farm production and the environmental and economic impacts of adopting these practices on a representative dairy farm in central Pennsylvania under recent historical and projected mid-century climate.

The research is important, according to Heather Karsten , associate professor of crop production/ecology in the College of Agricultural Sciences, because dairy farms — especially in the Northeast — are increasingly subject to more stringent regulations to reduce nutrient losses. With expected warmer conditions that will result in increased ammonia volatilization from manure and more frequent and more […]

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