Dairy Excel/Channel: New rules may mean more planning

Since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed bringing more animal feeding operations under regulations, more farmers may need to implement comprehensive nutrient management plans.

A decision on the proposal is expected by December 2002.

Thanks to information from Andy Bayham, Stark County Natural Resources Conservation Service, this article will attempt to explain what a comprehensive nutrient management plan is and how the farmer will work with the plan.

The comprehensive nutrient management plan is the overall conservation system that addresses all aspects of an animal feeding operation. There are six basic elements to be addressed in the planning.

FEED MANAGEMENT

The plan for the modification of animal diets to reduce the amount of nutrients in manure.

NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT

Working to develop nutrient management plans for land application of manure following Natural Resources Conservation Service standards and guidance. This involves the development of nutrient budgets, for all sources of nutrients used on the farm, based on crop needs and existing soil nutrient loading, as well as the use of phosphorus levels and soil nutrient thresholds.

If manure is to be land-applied for production of food, fiber or forage, this element contains the following nine areas:

1. Site maps, including a soil map;

2. Locations and descriptions of sensitive resource areas;

3. Soil, plant, water and organic material sample analysis results;

4. Current or planned crop production sequence or crop rotation;

5. Expected yield;

6. Quantification of all nutrient sources available;

7. Developing a nutrient budget for the crop rotation being planned;

8. Recommended rates, timing and method of nutrient application; and

9. The overall operation and maintenance of the nutrient management plan.

LAND TREATMENT PRACTICES

Together the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the farmer will develop conservation and management practices that are required to minimize the movement of nutrients on the landscape and conserve the nutrient value for crop production. This includes the planning and design of practices that address tillage and crop rotation systems, erosion and runoff control and conservation buffers.

RECORD KEEPING

It is necessary to keep records to support management decisions and document actions associated with the animal feeding operation.

Record keeping is a responsibility of the livestock or poultry producer and may vary depending on the enterprise, the producer’s objectives and state and local regulations.

Records need to be kept on the amount of manure produced, how the manure is utilized and current soil, plant, water and manure analysis.

OTHER MANURE AND WASTE WATER UTILIZATION OPTIONS

Address alternative uses of manure, such as sale of manure or compost off-site, power generation, feed stock and other innovative solutions needed when land application opportunities are limited or when livestock and poultry producers desire other value-added approaches to manure and waste water use.

(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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