Nutrient Management Planning

Nutrient management planning has become as important as conservation planning in regard to resource management. The primary reason for this new emphasis is the broader understanding of how excess nutrients in the soil lead to surface and groundwater contamination. Excessive applications of nitrogen fertilizer on cropland can lead to nitrates in groundwater. Phosphorus attaches to soil particles that pollute surface water when the soil erodes and enters a body of water. Algae needs phosphorus to grow.  When excess amounts enter a river or lake, the results can be significant. Locally, we can see these excessive algae blooms in Lakes Menomin and Tainter.

A nutrient management plan begins with up-to-date soil tests and requires a conservation plan at or below the allowable soil loss. It requires the proper crediting of on-farm nutrients, such as manure and legume crops, and then allows the purchase of commercial fertilizer to make up the remaining needs of the crop.

Certification for Nutrient Management Planning is Required

Individuals preparing or reviewing nutrient management plans are required to be certified.

To be qualified under Wisconsin ss. 281.65 and 281.66 and ATCP 50, a Nutrient Management Planner shall be one of the following:

  1. Recognized as a Certified Professional Crop Consultant by the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants,

  2. Recognized as a Certified Crop Advisor by the American Society of Agronomy, Wisconsin Certified Crop Advisors Board, or

  3. Registered as Crop Scientist, Crop Specialist, Soil Scientist, Soil Specialist or Professional Agronomist in the American Registry of Certified Professionals in agronomy, crops and soils. These same qualifications meet the requirements to be USDA Technical Service Providers for nutrient, pesticide and insecticide planning.