Nutrient management is managing the source, rate, form, timing
and placement of nutrients.
Nutrient management effectively and efficiently uses scarce
nutrient resources to adequately supply soils and plants to produce food,
forage, fiber and cover while minimizing environmental degradation.
Nutrient management is applicable to all lands where plant
nutrients and soil amendments are applied
Conservation Management Systems
Nutrient management may be a component of a conservation
management system. It is used in conjunction with Crop Rotation, Residue
Management, Pest Management, conservation buffer practices, and/or other
practices needed on a site-specific basis to address natural resource concerns
and the landowner’s objectives. The major role of nutrient management is to
minimize nutrient losses from fields, thus helping protect surface and ground
Nutrient management is most effective when used with
other agronomic practices, such as cover and green manure crops, residue
management, conservation buffers, water management, pest management, and crop
General Nutrient Management Considerations
Test soil, plants, water and organic material for nutrient
Set realistic yield goals.
Apply nutrients according to soil test recommendations.
Account for nutrient credits from all sources.
Consider effects of drought or excess moisture on quantities
of available nutrients.
Use a water budget to guide timing of nutrient applications.
Use cover and green manure crops where possible to recover
and retain residual nitrogen and other nutrients between cropping periods.
Use split applications of nitrogen fertilizer for greater
Guidelines for Operation and Maintenance
Review nutrient management component of the conservation
plan annually and make adjustments when needed.
Calibrate application equipment to ensure uniform
distribution and accurate application rates.
Protect nutrient storage areas from weather to minimize
runoff and leakage.
Avoid unnecessary exposure to fertilizer and organic waste,
and wear protective clothing when necessary.
Observe setbacks required for nutrient applications adjacent
to waterbodies, drainageways, and other sensitive areas.
Maintain records of nutrient application as required by
state and local regulations.
Clean up residual material from equipment and dispose of
Nutrient Management Assessment
Make a site-specific environmental assessment of the potential
risk of nutrient management. The boundary of the nutrient management assessment
is the agricultural management zone (AMZ), which is defined as the edge of
field, bottom of root zone, and top of crop canopy. Environmental risk is
difficult to assess beyond the AMZ.
Within an area designated as having impaired or protected
natural resources (soil, water, air, plants, and animals), the nutrient
management plan should include an assessment of the potential risk for nitrogen
and phosphorus to contribute to water quality impairment.
The Leaching Index (LI), Nitrogen Leaching and Economic Analysis
Package (NLEAP), the Phosphorus Index (PI), erosion prediction models, water
quality monitoring, or any other acceptable assessment tools may be used to make
Evaluate other areas that might have high levels of nutrients,
produced or applied, that may contribute to environmental degradation. For
example, areas with high livestock concentrations or large areas of high
intensity cropping, such as continuous potatoes, corn, or specialty crops, may
be contributing heavy nutrient loads to surface or ground water.
Conservation practices and management techniques will be
implemented with nutrient management to mitigate any unacceptable risks.
Nutrient Management Planning Checklist
Results of soil tests
Manure tests when applied
Budget of nutrients applied and utilized
Recommended rates, methods or application, form and lime application
Total quantity applied
Crop rotation or sequence
Expected yield and source of estimated yield
Actions to protect sensitive areas (setbacks)
Field map and soil map
Guidelines for operation and maintenance
See above to download a Printable version PDF Nutrient
Management Job Sheet to view and use the Specifications and Job Sketch