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Nutrient Tracking Tool (NTT): Decision Support for Conservation Management

Ali Saleh, Associate Director
Edward Osei, Senior Research Economist
Narayanan Kannan, Associate Research Scientist
Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research (TIAER)
Tarleton State University

2:00pm July 23, 2019

The Nutrient Tracking Tool (NTT) allows producers to evaluate how different conservation practices, like cover crops and reduced tillage, can improve water quality on their fields and farms. The tool’s results are based on site-specific conditions (such as soils, slope, and weather) and on-farm management practices. Users can compare environmental impacts (e.g. nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment losses) as well as estimated yields of various management scenarios. Results are presented in both tabular and graphical formats to allow them to make informed decisions on the types of conservation practices that can most benefit their operations. Underpinning the NTT Tool is the Agricultural Policy Environmental eXtender (APEX) model, the same model used for USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Program (CEAP) to assess environmental impacts at the national and regional scales. Currently, USDA- Office of Environmental Market is planning to use NTT as part of water quality trading program.

This webinar will describe NTT and the new components added as a result of the Great Plains Grazing project.

Two new components were:

1. Animal Production Life Cycle Analysis Tool (APLCAT): APLCAT estimates water use, energy use, nutrient balance, and greenhouse gas emissions (methane, N2O, and CO2) associated with beef cattle production. In addition to the model validation, multiple scenarios were tested to estimate various environmental improvement opportunities in beef cattle production.

2. Farm Economic Model (FEM): Routines within FEM are used to estimate costs and returns, based primarily on livestock and crop operations, ownership and characteristics of structures, facilities and equipment, financing terms, land areas and uses, livestock nutrition, and manure production and handling.

To register for the webinar:

Dr. Ali Saleh is an associate director at TIAER, where he develops and evaluates hydrologic models and the impacts of different management practices for local producers and land managers. His research and writings address wind and water erosion, water quality modeling and related issues, physical and chemical analysis of soil, and design and evaluation of irrigation and drainage systems.

Dr. Edward Osei joined TIAER in 1996. His primary responsibilities include computer modeling of economic issues involved in environmental policy assessment. His areas of interest, which are also reflected in his papers, include computer modeling of economic processes, nonpoint source pollution, natural resource and environmental economics, and farm management and production economics.

Dr. Narayanan Kannan is a Research Scientist with TIAER. He is also a faculty in Center for Environmental Studies at Tarleton. Dr. Kannan’s research focuses on development and application of computer models for solving challenging water resources problems. He developed a computer model to estimate water use, energy requirement and greenhouse gas emissions associated with livestock production.

Past Webinars:
If you missed our previous webinar, you can find the full video archived on our webinar page. Thank you!


Great Plains Grazing is a coordinated effort by a regional network of researchers and extension specialists to adapt grazing strategies to changing conditions.