If you’re a Florida grower looking to increase your efficiency, reduce your costs, protect the environment, and streamline your operations, it’s time to consider implementing best management practices.
These are practical measures that you can take to reduce the amount of pollutants entering waterways while maintaining (or even increasing) crop production.
What Are Agricultural Best Management Practices?
BMPs come in many forms and are used for various crops across the state, but all are geared toward reducing the negative impact that agriculture can have on the environment. There are three widely recognized categories of BMPS, as described below.
If you’re a farmer, you’re likely already familiar with the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship:
- Right fertilizer source, at the
- Right rate, at the
- Right time, and in the
- Right place.
These provide a framework for the responsible use of nutrients.
Choosing the right fertilizer for your plants is critical for their growth and overall health. By using appropriate sources and formulations of fertilizer based on the actual nutritional needs of your plants, you can make sure that they receive the right balance of essential nutrients without overdoing it.
A few other best management practices include:
- Calibrating and adjusting fertilizer application equipment to avoid wasting resources and money.
- Keeping records of nutrient application and location to help you monitor your plants’ growth and assess the effectiveness of your fertilizer program.
This management practice helps farmers maintain optimal soil moisture levels, which can help reduce the possibility of overirrigation or leaching. One of the best management practices for irrigation management is determining the soil moisture content and maintaining it within the recommended range.
Other BMPs include checking and maintaining all irrigation systems and using backflow prevention devices at the wellhead to prevent contamination.
Water Resource Protection
One of the best management practices for water resource protection is installing and maintaining appropriate vegetated buffers around water bodies to reduce runoff and erosion.
Others include regularly inspecting and maintaining irrigation systems and recycling or composting waste to reduce pollution.
Benefits of Enrolling in the BMP Program with the Florida Department of Agriculture
BMPs improve water quality, but they also increase production efficiency and reduce costs for your operation.
Enrolling in the BMP program is a straightforward process. First, schedule a meeting with an FDACS staff member for a free assessment of your operation to determine which BMPs are applicable. You’ll complete a BMP checklist and sign documentation forms, then submit them to FDACS Office of Agricultural Water Policy.
Overall, enrolling in the BMP program is a smart move for any farm looking to improve production efficiency, reduce costs, and protect the environment.
BIO: Mike Roberts is the Vice President of the Frostproof, Fla.-based Griffin Fertilizer Co. Roberts joined the company in November 2011. He has spent the majority of his career in the fertilizer/agchem industry. Roberts earned a Bachelor of Science degree in citrus production from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. For more information, visit griffinfertilizer.com.
This column is sponsored by Griffin Fertilizer Co., and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers.