Livestock operations can benefit from foresight in nutrient management plans
Do you own a dairy farm or have a swine operation? Or maybe you have poultry barns. If you have any of these you understand the large quantities of manure that can be collected. What do you do with all of the manure and/or bedding that is accumulated every day? Do you export it to another producer or do you apply it as fertilizer on your farm?
However you handle the manure is up to you, but to do it properly and safely you may need to have a comprehensive nutrient management plan (CNMP) in place. A CNMP is an organized five-year plan specific to your operation. It allocates the manure produced on your operation and provides a plan to properly use the nutrients on your farm based on criteria including topography, crops, soil tests, etc.
Every operation is different, and every CNMP will be different. There are many factors that affect a CNMP. Two of the main factors is having proper soil test results and manure analysis. The manure analysis will be dependent on animal type, animal growth stage, diet and storage. Knowing the analysis of the soil and manure allows for proper allocation of manure to each field based on the crops’ needs for the year.
If handled correctly, manure can be a beneficial resource. Some of the benefits include improving your soil tilth and structure, increasing water holding capacity of soil, and increasing growth of beneficial soil microbes and organisms. On the other hand, if handled incorrectly, it can be a waste and an environmental hazard. This is why a CNMP that has been properly put in place for your operation is essential and can save you from negative implications with the government and your neighbors.
In many cases, manure alone will not satisfy the crop’s nutrient needs and supplemental fertilizer will be necessary to achieve your yield goals. The CNMP provides you with a detailed report of planned manure applications and supplemental fertilizer for each field. These detailed reports help you to make management decisions on your farm. With a CNMP you will protect the environment, get the best use from your nutrient assets and maximize your crop or forage yields.
The cost of the CNMP varies based on the type of operation and the size. However, the cost is refunded by the USDA/NRCS.
If you need a CNMP or you currently have one that needs to be renewed, contact your local MFA or affiliate.