Nutrient Management

Cultivated field

What is a Nutrient Management Plan?

A nutrient management plan (NMP) is defined in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as "Managing the amount, source, placement, form and timing of the application of nutrients and soil amendments. For help developing a plan, contact a certified planner.

The purposes of a NMP are:

  • To adequately supply nutrients for plant production.
  • To properly utilize manure or organic by-products as a plant nutrient source.
  • To minimize agricultural non-point source pollution or surface and ground water resources.
  • To maintain or improve the physical, chemical and biological condition of soil.

Why have a Nutrient Management Plan?

A NMP will help manage commercial fertilizer and animal manure input cost.  It will also help to improve the surface water quality. A NMP for Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) should consider all the potential sources of the nutrients including, but not limited to:

  • N contributions from legumes and crop rotation
  • Animal manure and organic by-products
  • Waste water
  • Commercial fertilizer
  • Soil nutrient availability
  • Irrigation water

Basic Components of a Nutrient Management Plan

The following components are generally found in all NMPs:

  • An aerial photograph or map, and a soil map of the field.
  • A current and/or planned crop production sequence or crop rotation.
  • Results of soil, plant, water, manure or organic by-product sample analysis.
  • Realistic yield potentials for crops in rotation.
  • A listing of all nutrient sources.
  • Recommended nutrient rates, timing, form, and method of application including incorporation timing for the time period of the plan.
  • Location of designated sensitive areas or resources and the associated nutrient management restrictions.
  • Guidance for implementation, operations, maintenance, record keeping, and complete field-by-field nutrient budget for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium for the rotation or crop sequence.
  • A statement that the plan was developed based on current standards and any applicable federal, state, or local regulations or policies; that changes in any of these requirements may necessitate a revision of the plan.
  • Include information regarding the disposal of mortalities.
  • Permitted Animal Feeding Operations in Utah should use the Utah NMP Template.