Dairy farmers in New Mexico are using a great new tool called CAFOweb. The online data management tool allows dairy farmers to better manage nitrogen. As Tara Vander Dussen and Jay Lazarus explained, nitrogen from manure solids and/or effluent can leach into the ground water is not applied at agronomic rates. In other words, said Lazarus, most dairies were not meeting ground water specs. Because of this dairymen requested a web-based predictive tool to manage their nutrients in real time and thus was born CAFOweb.
I learned about this tool and saw it in action during Verdesian Life Science’s Los Alamos Media Tour. While the tool was in development it was beta-tested at eight dairies across New Mexico and Nevada. When the diary farms were combined, the test represented 25,000 cows and 2,600 acres of land application fields. Today CAFOweb is a proven nitrogen tracking tool and the only commercially available web-based nitrogen tracking tool.
Vander Dussen explained that the tool was developed with record-keeping requirements in mind and the software is designed to implement CNMPs and the plan and track nitrogen and nutrient applications rates and timing. She said there are various reports available such as a greenwater application report, greenwater forecasting report and soils report. To generate information, a consult or dairy inputs sampling data and monitoring data. The two combined allow a dairyman to track data trend via the reports as well as predict when applications should take place.
While the tool is only available in four states: New Mexico, Nevada, California and Washington, Vander Dussen said that they plan on rolling it out nationwide. In the meantime, they are working with Los Alamos National Lab on the technical specs to expand capabilities and add modules.