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The Dairy BIFS Project



Integrating Forage Production with Dairy Manure Management in the San Joaquin Valley

A Biologically Integrated Farming Systems Project

Principle Investigators:
Stuart Pettygrove, LAWR, UC Davis
Dan Putnam, Agronomy and Range Science, UC Davis
Deanne Meyer, Animal Science, UC Davis

Project Manager:
Alison Eagle, LAWR, UC Davis (based at Kearney Agricultural Center)


  • Work with selected dairies in the San Joaquin Valley to conduct field-scale demonstrations of improved methods for recycling liquid dairy manure nutrients to forage crops in both silage corn- and alfalfa-based crop rotations.
  • Work with the participating dairies to monitor and evaluate the economic and environmental performance of the improved methods compared to more conventional practices.
  • Develop and implement an educational curriculum on dairy manure nutrient recycling. This will be integrated with the Environmental Stewardship component of the dairy industry’s Quality Assurance program.

Improved Manure Management Practices

  • Use of flow meters to measure flow of dairy lagoon water into the irrigation system
  • Analysis of lagoon water samples for nutrient content
  • Calculation of nutrient (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) application onto forage fields
  • Metering of lagoon water application to meet, not exceed, crop nutrient needs
  • Reduction of fertilizer application where nutrients from lagoon water meet crop needs
  • Use of soil and plant tissue sampling to fine tune crop nutrient needs
  • Improvement of irrigation system to increase water use efficiency and uniformity, thus increasing efficiency and uniformity of nutrient application in the water
  • Overseeding of alternative species with alfalfa to increase nutrient uptake in winter/early spring, giving more opportunity for manure application on this crop

Newsletters: October 1999 January 2000 April 2000

September 2000 January 2001



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more info:

UC SAREP BIFS projects
UCCE Groundwater Program: Dairy groundwater quality research project
Dairy Environmental Quality related websites
Calendar of past Workshops/Meetings regarding Dairy Environmental Quality