University of Maryland Extension

Nutrient Management

Nutrient Management Advisors work with Maryland producers to develop nutrient management plans that balance nutrient application rates with crop nutrient requirements, with the ultimate goal of protecting the health of the Chesapeake Bay by reducing excessive nutrient applications from entering Maryland's waterways.  The Water Quality Improvement Act of 1998 requires all Maryland producers who make or exceed $2,500 gross annual income or who have 8 or more animal units (1 animal unit = 1,000 pounds live weight) to obtain and implement a nutrient management plan.

The University of Maryland Extension's Agricultural Nutrient Management program ( provides no-cost nutrient management plans, minus the cost of analyses, to Maryland farmers.  Nutrient Management Advisors are located at every UME county office throughout Maryland and also provide assistance with pre-sidedress nitrate tests (PSNT) for corn and equipment calibration.

For more information on the Nutrient Management Program, please contact Patricia Hoopes at

Soil Testing
Although the University of Maryland Soil Testing Lab has closed, there are many other labs available that conduct soil analysis. For more information, see our Comparison of Soil Test Labs bulletin. This comparison provides MD producers who must obtain a nutrient management plan a list of approved labs that can be used for their nutrient management plan development.  Please note that specific sampling procedures need to be followed. Producers required to obtain a nutrient management plan for their operation should follow these sampling procedures, rather than the lab's sampling instructions.

Nutrient Management Resources 
Soil Sampling Procedures 
Comparison of Soil Testing Labs 
Manure Sampling Procedures 
Comparison of Manure Testing Labs 
Comparison of Compost Testing Labs 
Tissue and Soil Sampling Procedures for Perennial Fruit Crops 
Comparison of Plant Tissue Labs 

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