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Crop Nutrient Management Facts

What is it?
It's matching nutrient availability with the plant's needs. Crop producers do this by increasing the efficiency of nutrient use. Thus producers fine-tune application rates, timing and placement to match plant growth. Increased use efficiency results in reduced nutrient losses.  

Efficient crop nutrient management:

  • Addresses all nutrients: manure, fertilizer, natural mineralization, etc.
  • Provides plants the right combination of nutrients near the roots when the plant requires the nutrients for growth.
  • Assures nutrients are in a form that the plant can use.
  • Relies on research to improve our understanding of the plant's needs.
  • Utilizes new technologies that will enable producers to use nutrients more efficiently than ever before.

How does it help create better soil?
Nutrient balance is critical to optimizing pH. For instance, a soil high in nitrogen will likely require an application of lime to neutralize soil pH.

The nutrient level also plays an important role in microbial activity. This activity converts nutrients from a form that's unavailable for plant uptake to a form that is available.  Just as with any other living organism, too much or not enough nutrients will negatively affect microbial activity.

Cleaner water
Reduces risk of nutrients making their way to streams and groundwater.

  • Some nutrients dissolve and are carried by water.
  • Other nutrients bond to and are carried with eroding soil.

The reduction of nutrients reaching surface waters reduces algae growth which can result in:

  • Increased oxygen supplies and improved habitat for fish.
  • Increased recreational activities including boating and swimming.
  • Better aesthetics.
  • Reduced water treatment costs.

Greater Profits
Increasing the efficiency of crop inputs and resulting yields, increases profit per acre, and ultimately, can increase family farm income.