Developing a Plan to Keep Nutrients in the Field

Nutrient Management Plans provide both fertility recommendations for crop production and an environmental site risk for on a field by field basis that help identify resource concerns impacting nutrient and sediment loss. The process helps identify fields with a higher risk profile and appropriate Best Management Practices that can limit losses. For water quality related to agricultural production, the impact of sediment and nutrients primarily phosphorus and nitrogen are the greatest concerns.

The plans provide general guidelines on 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices for your farm resulting in the “Right” rate, source, timing and placement of nutrients to maximize efficiency in fertilizer use. The plans also can identify fields with higher that average potentials for loss of nutrients or sediment, so appropriate practices can be targeted to reduce loss preserving nutrient and soil for crop production.

Once prepared the Nutrient Management Plans can be used in a variety of ways:

  1. These plans also meet criteria needed for “affirmative defense” once coupled with other criteria defined in Ohio law.
  2. Used in conjunction with EQUIP related cost share practices through application Ohio NRCS offices.
  3. Used by the producer as a tool for nutrient management to assess cost and identify potential improvement for their farm.

The information about your operation necessary to create a NMP that meets NRCS requirements is detailed and you will want to investigate the process before making a decision. Producers will need to have soil tests within the last two years and provide information about current field rotations, equipment, fertilizer practices, water sources and more. OSU Extension recommends you contact a member of our team to explore the process.

The program services are available to all farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin Counties of Ohio. The program is available through July 2018.

NMP plan preparation through these individuals is provided without cost to the participants through grants from several sources. Ohio contributors to the project include the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program, Ohio Corn Marketing Program, and Ohio State University Extension. The program is funded from a grant through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. 

For more general information on crop nutrient management plans or the program, contact Greg LaBarge, Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems, labarge.1@osu.edu and program lead or any of the Nutrient Management Plan Writers.

This program is not the only source of NMP plan writers. The NRCS maintains a list of Technical Service Providers (TSP), plus some Certified Crop Advisers may provide these services.

Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.