Nutrient management plans for livestock producers
Jose A. Hernandez
Extension Educator, University of Minnesota Extension
March 9, 2013
With the increases in fertilizer prices during the last few years, manure should not be considered a waste product requiring disposal. Rather, it should be stored, handled and applied with the same care given to expensive commercial fertilizers. Manure, when applied properly, can provide considerable savings in fertilizer purchases. If over-applied, nutrients will be wasted and surface and ground waters can be negatively impacted.
A nutrient management plant tell you:
- What to apply
- How much to apply
- How to apply it
- When to apply it
- MPCA: Manure Management Plan (MMP)
- NRCS: Nutrient Management Plan (NMP)
Nutrient management plans describe how the nutrients in manure generated at a livestock facility are going to be used during the upcoming cropping year(s) in a way that meets all regulations, protects waters of the state, and maximizes the benefits of applying manure to cropland. It is recommended that all livestock operations complete a manure management plan. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) requires Manure Management Plans (MMPs) in the following situations (MPCA Fact Sheet Wq-f8.07):
- A permit application is submitted from an operation with 100 animal units.
- Manure from a feedlot capable of holding 300 or more animal units.
- MMPs are currently required by federal regulations for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) requires Nutrient Management Plans when producers voluntarily sign up to apply improved nutrient management practices, or when producers receive financial assistance with agricultural waste storage or transfer through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Nutrient management plan components by agency
|MPCA (MMP) and NRCS (NMP)||Additional items for NMP (NRCS) only|
|Field maps||Plans/fields without manure|
|Livestock and manure information||Soil and water conservation practices|
|Sensitive area identification and management||Additional sensitive areas|
|Operation and maintenance guidance||Field risk assessments|
|Planned nutrient application and nutrient budgets|
|Field and farm specific records|
If manure is applied by a commercial applicator, the feedlot owner is not required to complete a manure management plan. However, if a feedlot contains 100 or more animal units, the feedlot owner is required to maintain manure application records, regardless of whether or not a commercial applicator applies the manure. Commercial applicators must keep a copy of manure application records and provide the owner of the feedlot or manure storage area with these records no later than 60 days following land application. When ownership of manure is transferred for application to fields that are not owned or leased by the owner of the animal feedlot, a manure management plan is partially completed by the feedlot owner and partially completed by the manager of the field(s) where the manure is applied (MPCA Fact Sheet Wq-f8.11).
Producers do not need to submit their plans to MPCA for review unless specifically requested by the MPCA or a County Feedlot Officer, or when applying for a permit. However, feedlot owners may be asked to show an updated manure management plan and associated records when the feedlot is inspected. The manure management plan must be kept up-to-date. The producer should review the plan each year to assess changes in crop rotation, manure nutrient levels, changes in manure application methods, and other factors that contribute to the nutrient availability of the manure and the crop nutrient needs.
In general, the following information must be included in a manure management plan (MPCA Fact Sheet Wq-f8.07):
- Manure storage, handling and testing practices;
- Field locations and acreage used for spreading manure;
- Field-specific nutrient management; and
- Management for sensitive areas.
Producers are not required to use any specific format when writing a manure management plan. They may use forms or software developed by MPCA, NRCS, University of Minnesota Extension, or other private organizations. However, the following resources are available for use in developing a manure management plan:
- Manure Management Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide for Minnesota Feedlot Operators (http://z.umn.edu/mmp). This guide was developed by MPCA, with assistance from the University of Minnesota Extension to assist producers in writing their plans.
- MPCA Manure Management Plan Spreadsheet (http://z.umn.edu/mpca). This Microsoft Excel spreadsheet includes all MPCA requirements.
- Nutrient Management Planner for Minnesota (http://www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/beef/components/homestudy/stocker_lesson2suppB.pdf) is a Microsoft Access-based program developed by the University of Minnesota Extension and NRCS. This program can be used to complete a manure management plan for both NRCS EQIP and MPCA requirements. For more information about the program, contact Jose Hernandez (see contact information below).
- The University of Minnesota Extension holds free workshops to educate farmers on how to complete their manure management plan. These are generally small group workshops. Contact your local County Feedlot Officer, local Extension Educator, or Jose Hernandez to find out more information about upcoming workshops.
For more information on about manure management plans, contact your local Extension Educator or your County Feedlot Officer. Additional information is also available from Jose A. Hernandez (phone: 612-625-4731 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org).