Nutrient Management

Applying the correct amount, form, and timing of plant nutrients for optimum yield and minimum impact on water quality.

How it works

After taking a soil test, setting realistic yield goals, and taking credit for contributions from previous years' crops and manure applications, crop nutrient needs are determined. Nutrients are then applied at the proper time by the proper application method. Nutrient sources include animal manure, biosolids, and commercial fertilizers. These steps reduce the potential for nutrients to go unused and wash or infiltrate into water supplies.

How it helps

Sound nutrient management reduces input costs and protects water quality, by preventing over-application of commercial fertilizers and animal
Correct manure and biosolids application on all fields can improve soil tilth and organic matter.

Planning ahead

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

Tech notes

Choose best application method. Use broadcast, starter, surface band or injection.
Use the late spring nitrogen test when appropriate when corn plants are between 6 to 12 inches tall. *
Avoid applying manure on frozen or snow-covered ground if possible.
Use nitrogen inhibitor if nitrogen is fall applied. *
Use nitrogen monitor if applying anhydrous ammonia to apply correct amount.


Test soils once every 2-4 years according to Extension recommendations. *
Analyze manure and other organic waste for nutrient content before field application.
Establish a winter cover crop of there's a possibility of excess nitrogen leaching.

* Check local recommendations.