Why Utilize Tools for Nutrient Planning?
The process of nutrient management planning can be complex and time consuming. Doing a good job requires:
- collecting and organizing extensive information about a farm;
- making a diverse series of decisions and calculations about crops, fertilizer and manure management; and
- communicating the completed plan to a multiple audiences including the farmer.
There is an expanding list of web-based and personal-computer-based tools that can help nutrient management planners write effective nutrient management plans. Some of these tools help with a specific element of the nutrient management process where others perform multiple parts of the process.
The objective of this page is to show some of the diversity in software tools that may be useful to nutrient management planners. The listing is not and cannot be comprehensive and will focus on tools that have a national audience. Some state-specific tools are included if they provide a particularly unique service or approach.
There are many state-specific tools. If you see a helpful resource on this site you may want to search for an analogous program developed in your region or state that may have more relevant supporting data integrated into the program. Links to state-specific nutrient management pages may be listed on State Specific Manure Nutrient Management Information.
Data Collection and General Information
- Google Map provides aerial view of areas of interest and driving directions. A good place to get started.
- University of Missouri National Data Finder. Download spatial and soils data needed to run RUSLE2, MMP and SNMP for any location in the U.S. Includes selected soils data and black and white georeferenced aerial photos (DOQ’s). Clip areas up to 10,000 acres.
- University of Missouri Animal Feeding Operation Site Assessment Tool (AFO SITE): Available only for Missouri. Web-based application that produces a detailed site assessment evaluating the sites suitability for an animal feeding operation.
- Soils Data Mart. Download tabular and spatial soils data for U.S. counties. Whole county data sets sent in an email.
- NRCS Geospatial Gateway provides access to a diverse set of spatial layers. Cannot clip to area of interest so file sizes typically too large to download over the internet.
- USDA National Agricultural Imagery Program provides georeferenced aerial photography of agricultural land taken during the growing season. The imagery is available for download as mosaicked DOQQ’s either individually or as compressed county images.
Nutrient Balance Calculators
Whole farm nutrient balance looks at all nutrient imports and exports on a farm and can be a useful tool to evaluate the nutrient status of a farm. Are there too many nutrients? Is the farm nutrient deficient?
- University of Nebraska Nutrient Balance Calculator. A spreadsheet based calculator. The web site includes links to good supporting information.
- Cornell University Nutrient Balance Calculator. A spreadsheet based calculator. The web site includes links to good supporting information.
Nutrient Management Software
This software helps the user through the many steps of completing a nutrient management plan. Many states have there own software including NC, NY, VA, and WI.
- Purdue’s Manure Management Planner. The most complete multi-state software for writing nutrient management plans. Includes state-specific fertilizer recommendations, manure nutrient availability calculations and generates plans that meet national standards for USDA-NRCS and EPA. Automated links to SNMP for geographic information and to the record keeping program WinMax. A free stand alone program available for 34 states.
Economics of Manure Management
What is manure worth? This can be a complicated question to answer. These tools provide some help in making economic decisions about manure.
- Feed Nutrient Management Planning Economics (FNMP$): a comprehensive program connecting feed ration characteristics, manure storage type and cropping systems impacts on the value of manure as a fertilizer. FNMP$ estimates: 1) manure nutrients, 2) land requirements, 3) labor and equipment application time, and 4) costs and value for land application. Spreadsheet-based program. Instructions for program.
- University of Missouri Manure Value Spreadsheet A spreadsheet-based calculator of the fertilizer value of manure based on manure test results, crop fertilizer recommendations and fertilizer prices.
- University of Minnesota What Is Manure Worth? spreadsheet.
Other Tools and Resources
- Spatial Nutrient Management Planner (SNMP): an ArcView 3.x program that facilitates delineating farm fields, mapping setbacks and soil test levels and calculating field sizes and spreadable acres. Available for all states. Links automatically to MMP. An ArcView 9.x version to be released soon.
- Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation ver. 2 (RUSLE(2)): Used by USDA-NRCS to estimate edge-of-field erosion losses. Complicated to get started and not fully intuitive to use. The good news is that it will soon be fully integrated into MMP.
- NRCS eFOTG (electronic Field Office Technical Guide: This is not software, but this website has links to conservation standards such as Nutrient Management (590) and Waste Utilization (633) for every state. Search in section IV under “Conservation Practices”.
- Phosphorus Index: There is no national P index. Instead individual states have developed P indexes that meet the needs of their state. Look for information about the P index through the state NRCS office or Land Grant University.
- Animal Waste Management (AWM) software: Facilitates sizing of manure storage facilities for animal feeding operations. Estimates the volume of manure, waste water and solids generated by animals in confinement. Does not address state-specific requirements. Some states have state-specific programs. To view a tutorial on using this software, see Animal Waste Management Software Training Video
If there is web page or software program you would like to have included on this webpage please contact John Lory.
Author: John Lory, University of Missouri, email@example.com
Reviewers: Rick Koelsch, University of Nebraska and Rich Meinert, University of Connecticut