Back to top

Managing Phosphorus in Organic Residuals Applied to Soils

Event date/time: 
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - 8:45am to 4:00pm

​​How do we develop a balanced system for use of organic residuals, with all their benefits, without adding to negative environmental impacts caused by phosphorus (P) leaching and runoff? This symposium will provide technical, research-based information and dialogue on the presence, forms, dynamics, transport, and fates of P applied to soils in organic residuals such as composts, biosolids, manures, and digestates from anaerobic digestion. This symposium is intended to help in developing guidelines for the use of P-containing organic residuals in accordance with nutrient management regulations.       

Approval has been granted for the following professional certifications: CGCS, CSFM, MCH, MCLP, and AOLCP. 

Two Certified Crop Advisor CEU’s have been approved for each of the following categories: Nutrient Management, Soil & Water Management, Manure Management.  A total of 6 CEU’s are approved for this program.

Flyer of Managing Phosphorus in Organic Residuals


$100 Registration Fee 

To register by mail with check or PO: To register online with a credit card:

Mail In Registration Form for Phosphorus Symposium

Enter online registration system

Program Outline

8:15    Registration (coffee and tea)

Background: Defining the Phosphorus Problem

8:45   Welcome and Introduction: What the Phosphorus!
          Mary Owen, Extension Turf Specialist, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Policy, Regulation and Management of Organic Residuals 
Ned Beecher, Executive Director, North East Biosolids and Residuals Association (NEBRA)                                                                                                                        
Fertilizers and soil amendments from organic residuals are in common use around New England. Some are strictly regulated for quality and application methods while others are subject only to guidelines. All provide benefits to soils. Ned will summarize Massachusetts policies and regulations that increasingly prohibit landfill disposal of organic residuals and encourage their recycling to soils covering current management practices, treatment, testing and application methods. 

Phosphorus Trends in New England Soils  
Katie Campbell-Nelson, Extension Vegetable Specialist, University of Massachusetts Amherst
This session will include a review of phosphorus trends seen in soil and residual tests from New England labs. The goal is to identify what we know about phosphorus levels based on our current testing methods around the region. The information in this talk is provided thanks to the cooperation of the following University Extension Soil Labs: Pennsylvania State University, University of Connecticut, University of Vermont, University of Maine, and University of Massachusetts. 

Analysis of Phosphorus

Analysis and Interpretation of Phosphorus in Soils and Residuals
Dr. John Spargo, Director, Agricultural Analytical Services Lab, Penn State University
This session will address test methods, extracts, reporting units & results with an emphasis on measuring techniques and interpretation of results. 

Phosphorus Availability from Organic Residuals
Dr. Amy Shober, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Delaware
This session will include the impacts of aluminum (Al), iron (Fe), calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) on phosphorus (P) availability in organic residuals. 

Phosphorous Dynamics and Mitigation in Soil      
Jennifer Weld, PhD Candidate, Soil Science Project Associate, Penn State University
This session will include an overview of how phosphorus behaves in soils, a description of the phosphorus index and whole farm phosphorus balances to set critical phosphorus levels. Managing soil test phosphorus over crop rotations will also be addressed among other P mitigation practices.


12:15– 1:30 Networking Lunch (provided) – Visit Exhibits and our Sponsors!

1:30    Interpretation and Recommendations: Round Tables and Panel Discussions

  • Agricultural Crops round table discussions.

Key questions: What problems in phosphorus management are you currently facing? What are some examples of promising mitigation practices? Where are the gaps in research, education and implementation? How can we continue using organic residuals responsibly?

Discussion Facilitators:

  • Katie Campbell-Nelson, UMass Extension Vegetable Program
  • Ned Beecher, NEBRA” Industry perspective and new approaches.
  • Bruce Hoskins, Soil Testing Program, University of Maine
  • Dr. John Spargo, Director, Agricultural Analytical Services Lab, Penn State
  • Dr. Masoud Hashemi, UMass Extension: Responsible manure and other residuals use and P cover cropping for P management.
  • Andrew Carpenter, Northern Tilth, NEBRA Member: P management alternatives for dairy.
  • Anthony Drouin, Casella Organics, NEBRA member: P management from organic fertilizers.


  •  Turf panel and audience discussion Facilitator: Mary Owen, UMass Extension

Key questions for turf: How does the use of composts and other organic residuals impact turf , soil, soil P and the movement of P from the turf system? What analyses, interpretation and guidelines are needed? What are the BMPs for using these materials? Is there research needed to answer the questions for which the answers are not clear? 


  • Dr. William Dest, University of Connecticut, Emeritus
  • Dr. Scott Ebdon, University of Massachusetts
  • Dr. Jason Henderson, University of Connecticut
  • Dr. Geoff Kuter, Agresource Inc. 
  • Ted Wales, Hartney Greymont, Needham, MA 
  Discussion Summaries: Questions & Concerns Related to Phosphorus

2:40-2:55 Break

3:00          Question and Answers with Dr. John Spargo, Dr. Amy Shober, Jennifer Weld 

3:30          Closing Remarks Mary Owen, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Approval has been granted for the following professional certifications: CGCS, CSFM, MCH, MCLP, and AOLCP.

Two Certified Crop Advisor CEU’s have been approved for each of the following categories: Nutrient Management, Soil & Water Management, Manure Management.  A total of 6 CEU’s are approved for this program.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please direct any comments or questions to Katie Campbell-Nelson, UMass Vegetable Specialist, Dr. Masoud Hashemi UMass Crops, Dairy, Livestock, Equine Specialist, Mary Owen, UMass Turf Specialist, or Kelly Kraemer, Event Coordinator 

United States Department of Agriculture cooperating. An Equal Opportunity Employer and Program Provider

Contact's name: 
Kelly Kraemer
Contact's email: 
Contact's phone on day of event: 
265 Lakeside Ave. Marlborough MA