UW-Madison ENVIRST 260 - Impacts of Agriculture (3 pages)

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Impacts of Agriculture

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Impacts of Agriculture


This lecture note goes into detail about the impacts of dairy farming and row crops in Wisconsin.

Lecture number:
Lecture Note
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Envirst 260 - Introductory Ecology
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ENVIR ST 260 1st Edition Lecture 22 Outline of Last Lecture I Tension Zone II Driftless Zone III Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin Outline of Current Lecture I Housekeeping II Dairy Industry III Row Crops Corn and Soybeans Current Lecture Housekeeping Read chapter 14 and articles posted on Moodle Course evaluation completed online system will send reminder e mails Grade breakdown and reminder of final grade calculation posted on Moodle Agriculture in the Upper Midwest Where is most of the agriculture located South of the tension zone Dairy Industry in WI Facts Largest segment of agriculture 43 4 billion Due to all the money in agriculture it s hard to argue to remove dairy farms for native landscapes More dairy cows per square mile than any other state I cow 120 lbs of wet manure per day Ecological impacts Air quality These notes represent a detailed interpretation of the professor s lecture GradeBuddy is best used as a supplement to your own notes not as a substitute A lot of methane gas is produced people don t want to live down wind Contamination of waterways Nitrogen Phosphorus Eutrophication Bottom up Process Rapid algae growth from enrichment with N or P Decaying plants reduce dissolved oxygen Fish and other aquatic life die What to do with all the manure Spread onto fields as fertilizer Store it Typically you have more manure than you can use so people just store it Not always great option because ponds and tanks can burst and you get manure spills which lead to fines Manure digesters Biomass digesters produce methane as a byproduct of bacterial decomposition Positives Cow poop is stored in an underground pool where it heats to form methane gas that is fed into a generator and serves as power it s a really great solution to what is a big ecological problem Negatives There was an explosion and a few leaks in manure digesters Most people think that it s worth the risk because even though the technology isn t completely there we should continue investing in it Row Crops Corn and Soy Beans US Corn Belt A lot of land that would ve been prairies has been transformed into corn Ecological Impacts Fertilizer runof It comes down through the Midwest and drains into the Gulf of Mexico There s the dead zone which is a huge zone where eutrophication is happening and animals have the potential to sufer Fish are dying Toxic algae Local impacts have broader impacts Irrigation can draw down water tables Limited habitat for wildlife and pollinators Pesticides and herbicides impact non target species Good and bad pollinators will be taken out by herbicides as well as native plants STRIPS project Big research project going on lead researchers talking about the program and the impacts they ve seen Prairie strip project Within row crops add strips of prairie plants to reduce sediment loss 90 crop and 10 strips When they look at comparisons of the STRIPS project and other methods they find that this method has a greater impact It s a realistic project You have to give up 10 of your land but you ll use less fertilizer spend less money on erosion control and are less likely to shore up stream banks It can be ecologically viable Prairie on landscape starts to increase native habitat You probably won t have larger animals but grassland birds will utilize these patches and small wildlife will benefit from it The pollinators are also a lot better of There s a significant increase in biodiversity with a 10 change

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