Reducing phosphorus losses from GB dairy farms

Friday, 5 July 2019

The University of Reading, in collaboration with Harper Adams University, is running a project looking into reducing P. The project is currently looking for farms across GB to participate in the project.

When manure rich in phosphorus (P) is applied to land above the crops’ requirements, the excess P runs off into waterbodies, and contributes to water pollution, with degradation of quality and reduction in aquatic biodiversity. Reducing P losses from Great Britain dairy farms has both environmental and cost benefit for dairy farms.

Participating farms are being asked to complete a simple form to collect data on the amount of annual P being imported into and exported out of their farm (i.e. information on livestock, feed, fertiliser and milk). In cases where the P content of feeds, manure and soil is unknown, a 1 hour farm visit to collect samples for analysis can be arranged.

Dairy farms involved in the project will receive a report on their farms P performance to help identify areas to improve P efficiency on-farm. There will also be anonymized data from all the participating farms for benchmarking performance.

This project is part of a 3 year PhD studentship funded by the AHDB Dairy. For more details or to get involved, please contact Brad Harrison (



The project has been reviewed by the University’s research ethics committee. Participation is completely voluntary. Data and samples will be stored securely at the University of Reading and destroyed at project end. Published data will be anonymous.