Nutrient Management

Nutrient management refers to both manure and other fertilizers. It helps assure that crops get the right amount of nutrients, such as; nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, at the right time and place. This benefits the farmer by improving crop yields and reducing costs and benefits the environment by keeping nutrients on the fields and preventing them from running off to streams or down to groundwater. Nutrient management planning requires testing both soil and manure to learn what the nutrient content is. All farmers should have a nutrient management plan.

Who needs a Nutrient Management Plan?

ALL FARMS! All Landowners must have and follow a NMP when applying nutrients to any field, including pastures if:

  • Offered cost-share for developing a NMP

  • Accepting manure storage cost-share

  • Participating in the Farmland Preservation Program

  • Regulated under a local ordinance for manure storage or livestock siting

  • Regulated under a WI Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit

  • Issued a Notice of Discharge (NOD) for causing a significant discharge

Why should you have a plan?

  • To know what nutrients crops actually need, avoiding nutrient over-application

  • To use on farm nutrients first, such as; legume nitrogen and manure, before purchasing commercial fertilizers

  • To save money and increase farm profitability by not over-purchasing commercial fertilizer

  • To improve soil stability, structure, and water holding capacity

  • To improve surface and groundwater water quality

  • To enable participation in the Farmland Preservation Program to receive annual income tax credit

  • To meet regulations under a county ordinance for manure storage or livestock siting or if under a DNR WPDES permit

How do you develop a plan?

  • Work with a local certified crop advisor - contact the Land & Water Conservation Department to find one near you

  • Learn to write your own nutrient management plan for your farm by completing a DATCP-approved training course, once every four years. You can find training courses on the SnapPlus website:

How often does a Nutrient Management Plan need to be updated?

  • Sample soils every four years, one sample for every five acres

  • Review and update your plan annually

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