Agriculture Resource Management: Nutrient Management Program
Nutrient management planning maximizes the application of nutrients in the manure according to crop nutrient needs. This practice aids to protect water quality by eliminating over application of manure and/or commercial fertilizers. The success of a Nutrient Management Plan requires consistent sampling and laboratory analysis of manure and soil, manure spreader calibration and good record keeping. Nutrients contained in the manure are effectively utilized when the actual nutrient content of the manure is known, when the spreading rate is known, and when the manure is uniformly spread on a field.
Manure is a Valuable Resource!
If you are not following a Nutrient Management Plan you may simply be throwing away money in excess fertilizer costs. Over application of fertilizer may also lead to significant environmental consequences to surface and ground water resources.
Many livestock producers do take some crop nutrient credit for the manure applications they have made, however, if you are not testing the manure, your efforts are guess work at best. Manure test results can vary as much as 200% from farm to farm and even from year to year on the same farm. Livestock health, feeding rations, and manure storage conditions all have an effect on the nutrient content of manure.
What Do I Do?
- Annually collect manure samples and have it sent to a laboratory for nutrient analysis
Manure from storage pits should be collected and analyzed immediately after agitation and sent to a reliable lab for analysis. Sampling over a several year period will likely be necessary to determine the consistent baseline nutrient content of the manure in your storage pit. Nutrient content should be determined for each pump out period (e.g. spring pump out and fall pump out). Solid manure should be sampled at the time of application. A core can be taken from a manure pack, or several samples can be mixed together to get a composite sample.
- Biannually or every three years collect soil samples and have them sent to a laboratory for analysis
- Perform a spring nitrate test every three years to monitor carry-over/residual nitrogen levels in the soil
- Calibrate your manure spreaders on an annual basis and establish realistic yield goals
- Follow the Nutrient Management Plan developed for your operation. The Plan includes yield goals, crop nutrient needs, manure analysis results, manure application methods and natural resource protection concerns
What is the Cost?
A basic manure nutrient test will cost $20 to $25. A soil test will cost $7 to $10 per test.
Give it a try! What have you got to lose?
For more information on the nutrient management regulations required by the state feedlot rules contact the Dakota County SWCD office or see the Feedlot Program Fact Sheet.
Financial Incentive Programs:
Incentive Payment Program
State Cost Share