Making Nutrient Management Easier with GoCrop™
- By Heather Marie Darby
With UVM Extension and goCrop™ farmers are learning how to effectively manage nutrients on their farms and in turn are reducing costs, increasing yields, and minimizing negative impacts on water quality.
Tim Magnant of Bridgeman View Farm in Franklin uses goCrop™ to keep track of “everything” on his 120-cow dairy farm. From fertilizer used to crops harvested, the web application created by UVM Extension is an integral part of nutrient management for Magnant.
Like Bridgeman View, over a third of Vermont dairy farms have used goCrop™ to write their Nutrient Management Plans (NMP). But early versions of UVM Extension’s NMP training courses taught farmers how to create and store plans on paper. The system worked, but farmers reported the binders as cumbersome, difficult to manage, and ultimately an obstacle to plan implementation.
An alternative system was needed and UVM Extension Agronomist Heather Darby met the challenge. She worked closely with dairy farmers to create goCrop™, an integrated web and mobile application designed for in-field recordkeeping and real-time calculation of nutrients.
Since 2015, 245 farmers have attended UVM Extension’s NMP training courses and used goCrop™ to develop plans in accordance with the Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs) of Vermont’s Clean Water Law (Act 64). The tool continues to evolve with new features including a module for vegetable growers, a grazing component, and a whole farm nutrient balance tool expected to release this year.
Magnant says, “it’s hard to improve something if you don’t understand it,” but goCrop™ makes that task easier.
Learn more at go.uvm.edu/gocrop.