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Delineating Agriculture in the Tar-Pamlico River Basin

By: Deanna Osmond, Donald Cassel, Kathy Neas

Under the Tar-Pam Rules, the Basin Oversight Committee (BOC) is tasked with submitting agricultural information on a yearly basis. Unfortunately, some of this information, such as fertilizer rates, is based on best professional judgment; there are no fertilizer-use statistics that are reliable. In addition, best management practices (BMPs) are only captured if they are cost shared. To obtain a better estimate of agricultural practices, this one-time statistically valid area sampling frame was applied to agricultural fields in the Tar-Pamlico River Basin in order to collect an agricultural baseline of cropping systems, soil types and currently used best management practices. In summary, when all the data are combined, it appears that producers in the Tar-Pamlico River Basin are minimizing environmental impact of nutrient and soil losses from agricultural fields. Best management practices are being used, including buffers, water control structures, cover crops, and conservation tillage. Nutrient inputs generally are below recommended levels. The only area where we believe producers could improve management is by following soil test reports and reducing phosphorus fertilization.

Delineating Agriculture in the Neuse River Basin

By: Deanna Osmond, Kathy Neas

In 2000 an agricultural survey of the Neuse River Basin was undertaken to obtain data that would help inform the Division of Water Quality and the Neuse Basin Oversight Committee (BOC), which was charged with determining a baseline for nitrogen (N) losses from 1991-1995. In summary, when all the data are combined, it appears that producers in the Neuse River Basin are minimizing environmental impact of nutrient and soil losses from agricultural fields. Best management practices are being used, including buffers, water control structures, cover crops, and conservation tillage. Erosion is low and nutrient inputs generally are below recommended levels. The only area where we believe producers could improve management is by following soil test reports and reducing phosphorus fertilization.

Delineating Agriculture in the Lake Jordan River Basin

By: Deanna Osmond, Kathy Neas

Under the proposed Lake Jordan Rules, the Basin Oversight Committee (BOC) is tasked with submitting agricultural information on a yearly basis. Unfortunately, some of this information, such as fertilizer rates, is based on best professional judgment; there are no fertilizer-use statistics that are reliable. In addition, best management practices (BMPs) are only captured if they are cost shared. To obtain a better estimate of agricultural practices, this one-time statistically valid area sampling frame was applied to agricultural fields in the Lake Jordan River Basin in order to collect an agricultural baseline of cropping systems, soil types and currently used best management practices, livestock types and numbers, and producer information. In summary, when all the data are combined, it appears that producers in the Lake Jordan River Basin are minimizing environmental impact of nutrient and soil losses from agricultural fields due to the types of cropping systems used and under fertilization of most crops. Nutrient inputs generally are below recommended levels. Best management practices, primarily buffers are being used, as well as cover crops and conservation tillage; however, more could be installed. Cattle numbers could be reduced.