Grazing Land Initiative/Sullivan Trail Resource
Seneca County, NY

Grantee: Sullivan Trail Resource Conservation and Development Council
Basin Program Funds: $15,000
Non-federal Funds: $6,400
Project Duration: 05/1997 - 09/1998
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Traditional agricultural practices are responsible for a significant amount of nonpoint source pollution entering the Great Lakes basin, including fertilizers and pesticides trapped in sediment particles. Intensive Rotational Grazing systems (IRG), also known as short duration grazing systems, are effective best management practices (BMPs) for controlling agricultural runoff but livestock producers need to know the environmental and economic advantages of IRG systems.

Watering troughs in grazing system.

Background
Agricultural causes of water quality impairment include manure spreading and storage, barnyard runoff, livestock in streams, pesticide and fertilizer application, and row crops. These activities are responsible for introducing excessive sediments, nutrients, pathogens, pesticides and organic matter into rivers and lakes through runoff. Runoff from marginal crop land and existing pasture and hayfields can be reduced substantially through the use of Intensive Rotational Grazing systems. IRG has been credited with reducing annual soil loss by as much as 9.4 tons per acre. If extrapolated over the one percent total crop land and pasture farmed within New York state's Lake Ontario basin, 2.223 million acres, could save as much as 208,979 tons of soil annually.

Intensive Rotational Grazing BMPs include interior and perimeter fencing to prevent livestock from entering streams, pasture seeding/renovation, installation of livestock watering facilities and introducing short duration grazing systems.

Activities
The Sullivan Trail Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC and D) established a Grazing Committee which, in turn, identified and selected participating farms. The RC and D prepared grazing plans for all participating farms. Each plan identified IRG system BMPs applicable to the respective farm. Over the course of the summer project personnel laid out and began installation of BMPs on the participating farms. The Seneca County Water Quality Committee sponsored a tour of one of the farms and held a grazing workshop at another. Additiona14l activities include completing BMP installation and a pasture walk for the fall of 1998.

Moving dairy cattle from one paddock to another.

Results
The IRG system BMPs are expected to last ten years during which they will save 8,800 tons of soil, 88,000 pounds of phosphorus and 17,600 pounds of nitrogen. Additionally, 85 livestock producers and elected officials received information about the project during four workshops/farm tours. These efforts will continue. Project personnel estimate introducing an additional 250 farmers and elected officials to IRG system BMPs in the future.

 

Contact: Sullivan Trail RC&D Council, (607) 776-9631

 

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