What is Nutrient Management
Farmers have traditionally spread raw manure on their land to help grow crops for food and for livestock. Not only animal manure, but other nutrient-rich materials containing primarily nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, can be used to fertilize fields. These materials include commercial fertilizers, human waste generated by sewage treatment plants (called bio solids), and pulp and paper sludge. The controlled application of these nutrients is referred to as nutrient management.
Nutrient management is a system used by farmers to manage the amount, form, placement, and timing of the application of nutrients (whether as manure, commercial fertilizer, or other form of nutrients) to plants. The purpose is to supply plant timely nutrients for optimum forage& and crop yields. The main objective of Nutrient Management is to ensure adequate availability of quality fertilizers to farmers through periodical demand assessment and timely supply. Nutrient management is the practice of using nutrients wisely for optimum economic benefit, while minimizing impact on the environment.
Proper timing is most important with nitrogen fertilizer. In some locations, a large part of the nitrogen may be lost if it is applied too long before the crop is planted, particularly if applied the previous fall before soil temperature drops to below 50° F. Phosphorus application is also most efficient when made at or near planting time, especially with soils low in phosphorus. Time of application is less critical with potassium than with nitrogen or phosphorus. Good nutrient management is an integral part that conserves and enhances natural resources. It reduces production and environmental risks.
If manure and other materials are not properly controlled, they can become a significant source of contamination for water systems. Farmers need to store manure carefully and they need enough acreage to absorb all the nutrients that are applied. If there are spills or if there is excess manure on the fields, it can result in runoff to streams and lakes, or leaching from soil into groundwater. With the help of nutrient management, soils that have less potential for run off they may receive higher rates of liquid nutrients while soils with slopes that are more susceptible to run off will be allowed less.
Nutrient management planning is a best management practice that aims to optimize crop yield and quality, minimize fertilizer input costs and protect soil and water. The principles of this are simple and include:-
Applying fertilizer only to make up the difference between what is there and what is required to achieve the target yield, which also ensures cost-effectiveness for the producer; and Ensuring that the added nutrient is available to the crop.