Spatial targeting of manure/fertilizer management considering both land suitability and cropping patterns could significantly improve nutrient use efficiency (NUE). Manure application in environmentally vulnerable areas such as flood plains, excessively sloped areas, shallow soils, and karst geology areas increases risk of nutrient loss to nearby waterbodies.
Cibin and Kalra are developing and applying a framework for optimal spatial targeting of nutrients using biophysical characteristics of landscapes and simulation modelling. Land suitability analysis considering biophysical land vulnerabilities is being used for preliminary screening of landscapes. Integrated crop and environmental modelling, which will enable them to simulate the impacts of land use and nutrient management choices, are being carried out using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and an upgraded version of SWAT known as SWAT+.
PhD Student, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Penn State