University of Maryland Extension

Nutrient Management Planning Tools Handbook

What is a Nutrient Management Plan?

A nutrient management plan is a formal document that balances crop nutrient needs with nutrients that are applied in the form of commercial fertilizer, animal manure, or biosolids.

A plan contains:

  • soil test results
  • manure and biosolids analyses (where applicable)
  • yield goals
  • estimates of residual nitrogen to generate field-by-field recommendations

What is Involved in the Plan Writing Process?

The plan writing process involves the following steps:

  1. Data collection
  2. Soil sampling and testing
  3. Manure sampling and testing (if applicable)
  4. Compost testing (if applicable)
  5. Tissue sampling and testing (if applicable)
  6. Calculating the Phosphorus Site Index (PSI) and the University of Maryland Phosphorus Management Tool (UM-PMT)
  7. Generating recommendations
  8. Compiling and reviewing your nutrient management plan
  9. Submitting plan components and reporting form to the Maryland Department of Agriculture (first reporting only)
  10. Record keeping
  11. Following up

Examples of model plans:

  • Willow Farm (CSA with beef, hay & pasture and various crops - corn, flowers and vegetables)
  • Don Showfelder Farm (Broiler operation, grain farm, horse pasture)
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