Dairy Excel/Channel: Agronomy, manure and records call for closer look at a program, planner

Dear Nutrient Manager! (aka Dairy Farmer or Other Livestock Farmer)

Can we discuss LEAP II (Livestock Environmental Assurance Program II) and/or MMP (Manure Management Planner)? Why you ask? Because “they” told me to do it!

Voices heard. Who or Whom is “they” you ask? Well, they are Jill Nolan, OSU North District Extension Director (my boss); Susan Crowell, Farm and Dairy Editor; and Frank Burkett III, Clardale Farms Inc., Canal Fulton.

Nolan, during my annual review, stated I need to do more in my specialization, which is agronomy. Crowell, at the Stark County Dairy Banquet, says her readers really get into learning more about manure.

Burkett, during the Stark Soil and Water District strategic planning meeting, wishes someone would come up with a good, easy mapping system for recording manure applications and helping keep good nutrient records.

Therefore, let us consider Livestock Environmental Assurance Program II and Manure Management Planner.

Training two. Many livestock farmers participated in LEAP I and received certification through the Ohio Livestock Coalition, David White’s shop in Columbus. They received training that introduced them to on-farm environmental assurance and provided a resource reference from which to start their environmental assurance plan.

LEAP II in now available and provides information and resources to assist livestock producers in applying environmental planning to their farms.

Three parts. LEAP II is organized into three parts:

* Planning concepts introduces the primary steps to develop a personalized farm plan.

* Applications help the producer organize and develop the information gathered in the first segment into a useable management tool that will assist in both day-to-day and long range decision planning.

* Resources and networks provides suggested contacts, references and tools to help implement the plan and keep it useful.

To join. LEAP I graduates in Stark and Summit counties interested in completing LEAP II for their farm should contact Dennis Weilnau at 330-497-1611, ext. 12, or weilnau.1@osu.edu.

A group of two to four farmers can work together on it or each farm can work individually. Please contact your agricultural agent or soil and water conservation district if you live in another county.

Computer program. The Manure Management Planner is a computer program that is free and can provide a good planning and records tool for manure nutrient management.

To download it for free, go to www.agry.purdue.edu/mmp.

The planner is nationally supported by both USDA-NRCS and EPA for nutrient management planning. It calculates extension fertilizer recommendations automatically.

Extensive. The program includes an extensive set of reports, calendars, charts and tools, both built-in and custom. Plus you can develop custom tools yourself with Access, Excel, Word or PowerPoint and add them to the planner.

Manure Management Planner allows you to design “smart” document templates containing boilerplate text, pop-up lists of Word Auto Text, and queries for creating tables of data (from the planner or other data sources).

Consultants and planners can use these templates with the planner’s document generator to create CNMPs and other complex documents automatically.

Field data. Manure Management Planner automatically imports field data from Missouri’s Spatial Nutrient Management Planner. This planner is also free (www.cares.missouri.edu/snmp) and is also supported nationally by EPA for nutrient management planning.

The manure planner imports data from soil test labs and a customer service tool kit. The data can be imported automatically into WinMax (also free – www.agry.purdue.edu/max) to do more comprehensive crop production record keeping.

Comprehensive. The planner’s illustrated guide to getting started is for Manure Management Planner and Spatial Nutrient Management Planner in only 21 pages.

Finally Manure Management Planner includes comprehensive program help and numerous sample plans.

Full technical documentation can be downloaded from www.agry.purdue.edu/mmp/MmpDocs.htm.

Contact me at 330-497-1611, ext. 12, or e-mail me at weilnau.1@osu.edu. I am willing to work with farmers individually to help develop their planner.

(The author is an agricultural extension agent in Stark and Summit counties. Questions or comments can be sent in care of Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)

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