Economic Costs and Environment Tradeoffs: A Meta-Analysis of Farm-Level Abatement Costs of Agricultural Beneficial Management Practices in Mitigating Excess Phosphorus Loss in Ontario




Liu, Yanan

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University of Guelph


Agricultural Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) are commonly applied in Ontario as a solution to solve the problem of eutrophication. It is important to assess their effectiveness in reducing excess phosphorus emissions and associated farm-level costs. This thesis uses a meta-analysis to examine abatement costs of nine selected BMPs in mitigating excess phosphorus loss on crop and livestock farms in Ontario. The set of BMPs included reduced tillage, crop nutrient management, cover crops, buffer strips, grassed waterways, water and sediment control basins, controlled tile drainage, livestock exclusion and livestock nutrient management. I found that controlled tile drainage is a highly preferable conservation practice for abating excess phosphorus emission with net return gains on the farm. No-till, buffer strips, grassed waterways and livestock exclusion are highly cost-effective practices. However, there is a wide variance in abatement costs on specific fields. Site-specific characteristics should be carefully considered.



Agricultural Beneficial Management Practices, Abatement Cost, Phosphorus Loss, Meta-analysis