Nutrient Management as Risk Management Original Power Point Created by Tom Morris Modified by the GA Agriculture Education Curriculum Office July 2002
Importance of Nutrient Management The Clean Water Act of 1972 requires a permit for nutrient discharge on large livestock farms Large livestock farmers and eventually (my opinion) all farmers will be required to minimize nutrient loss from farmsteads and fields
Nutrients? • The nutrients of environmental concern are nitrate and phosphorus • Nitrate: excesses can cause human health problems • Phosphorus: excesses cause problems with algae growth in lakes and ponds • Manure and commonly used fertilizers contain nitrate and phosphorus
Managing Risk on the Farm • Farmers manage many types of risk • risk of injury from use of machinery • risk of injury from animals • risk of injury from physical labor • risk of reduced income from low milk prices • risk of insufficient land base
How are Risks Managed? • Insurance, health and life • Developing long- and short-term plans for the future • Increase your knowledge • Hire person to provide specialized knowledge, for example: feed consultant
Nutrient Management as a Risk • Short-term or acute risk: Manure spill, odor from lagoon and spreading in spring • Long-term risk: Excess nutrients (manure) creates a long-term risk for a farm. Accumulations of nutrients in the soil creates a greater risk of nutrient loss from fields.
How to Manage the Risk of Nutrients • Short-term risk of manure spill: buy better equipment, keep old equipment in good repair, don’t overfill spreader, etc. • Short-term risk of odor from manure: create better relations with neighbors, add pine sol to manure, etc. • Long-term risk of excess nutrients: develop a nutrient management plan (NMP)
What is a Nutrient Management Plan? • A description of the amount and distribution of nutrients on the farm. Includes the nutrients stored in the soil. • A plan to manage the nutrients properly by better distribution of the nutrients. • A record keeping system to manage the nutrients and to demonstrate better management • A plan to export nutrients if the farm has excess nutrients (manure)
Record Keeping • Field-by-field record keeping is the primary tool to manage the long-term risk of nutrients on a farm • Records by field of quantity and date of manure and fertilizer applications, and crop yields
Summary • Improper management and accumulation of nutrients can create unnecessary risks for livestock farms (also other farms) and for the environment • Nutrient Management Plans minimize the risk of nutrients on the farm.