Fisheries and Land Resources

Forestry and Agrifoods

Nutrient Management Planning

What is Nutrient Management Planning (NMP)?

A Nutrient Management Plan identifies actions and priorities that optimize the amounts, timing, and forms of nutrients used for optimal plant yield and minimizes the potential for environmental impact. The principals of nutrient management planning involve applying manures and fertilizers to consider what is already in the soil and what is required by the crop to meet target yields. A NMP is site specific, with its overall goal to minimize undesired environmental effects while optimizing farm profits and production.

Purpose of a Nutrient Management Plan

Nutrient Management Plans are done to:

  • Adequately supply nutrients for plant production

  • Properly utilize on-farm nutrients

  • Reduce fertilizer costs

  • Minimize agricultural non-point source pollution of surface and groundwater resources

  • Maintain or to improve soil physical, chemical and biological conditions

Benefis to the Environment

Depending on the type of nutrient required and existing soil conditions, different kinds of nutrient inputs may be required to improve and maintain soil fertility. Over application of nutrients, over time, may have a negative effect on the environment. Contamination of water bodies by non-point source pollution has increased publics concern regarding agricultural practices. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus on agricultural land can be carried to water bodies through leaching and runoff. The addition of these nutrients can have deleterious effects on aquatic ecology and decreased water quality. The nutrient management concept is to apply plant nutrients as precisely as possible, matching the input of nutrients to plant utilization and limiting losses to the environment.

Developing a Nutrient Management Plan

The nutrient management plan for a particular operation can incorporate the following items and critical steps, but each nutrient management plan will be specific for each individual farm operation.

 These steps are;

  • Test your manure

  • Test your soil

  • Account for residual nutrients from previous crops and manure applications

  • Select manure application time, rate and incorporation method

  • Choose your supplemental fertilizers. Suppliers can make custom blends based on specific requirements

  • Calibrate your spreader

  • Always follow beneficial management practices

  • Keep accurate up to date records

  • Review your plan every year

Contact Information

For more information on how to develop a NMP for your farm, contact the Soil Fertility Specialist, at 709-637-2081.

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