Skip Navigation

Nutrient Management

Nutrient Management









Applying the correct amount and form of plant nutrients for optimum crop yield and minimum impact on water quality; includes manure testing and waste utilization.

How it works

Crop nutrients are determined after taking a soil test, setting realistic yield goals, and taking credit for contributions from previous years’ crops and manure applications. Nutrients are then applied at the proper rate and time by the proper application method. Nutrient sources include animal wastes, commercial fertilizers, and compost. These steps reduce the potential for nutrients to go unused and run off or infiltrate into water supplies.

How it helps

  • Protects water quality by preventing over-application of commercial fertilizers and animal manure
  • Correct manure application on all fields can improve soil tilth and organic matter
  • Reduces the need for additional applications, reducing input costs and energy

Planning ahead

  • Have you tested soil and manure for nutrient levels?
  • Are organic wastes available for you to use?
  • Are yield goals realistic?
  • Are proper soil conservation measures installed?
  • Have you accounted for nitrogen credits produced by legume crops?

Technical notes

  • Choose the best application method. Use broadcast, starter, or surface band injection.
  • Use Oregon State University (OSU) Extension fertilizer guides for your crops to guide applications.
  • Refrain from applying commercial nitrogen in the fall, except when nitrogen is associated with phosphorous application.
  • Avoid applying manure on frozen, saturated or snow-covered ground if possible.


  • Test soils once every three years or according to OSU Extension recommendations.
  • Analyze manure and other organic waste for nutrient content before field application.
  • Establish a winter cover crop if there is a possibility of nitrogen leaching because of poor crop yield.