Whole Farm Mass Nutrient Balance Calculator

Nutrient Management Tools and Curriculum

Created with SARE support

the whole farm nutrient balance calculator

The Whole Farm Nutrient Balance Calculator is a stand-alone program written in Visual Basic© that calculates the annual difference between nutrients (N, P and K) imported onto the farm as feeds, fertilizers, animals, and bedding and exported nutrients in milk, animal and crop sales and manure and/or compost exports. Production characteristics such as cropland area, animal numbers, and average crop yields are also recorded.

The tool was designed to be used annually by producers and/or their advisors to determine where the greatest nutrient use efficiencies occur and to identify areas of concern and opportunities for more efficient nutrient use that, if addressed, could increase profitability and reduce environmental impact.

This tool can be used as an Extension tool on its own and/or integrated into a complete 4-hour nutrient management curriculum (1-hour lecture, 2-hour engaged activities and 1-hour advanced concepts). The following software and teaching components are available through the Cornell University Nutrient Management Spear Program's website:

  • Module outline
  • Teaching guides
    • Background lecture
    • Tutorial workbook teacher guide
  • Materials
    • Mass Nutrient Balance software
    • Data collection sheet and data collection instructions (2011 calendar year)
    • User manual
    • Tutorial workbook
    • Glossary

This Whole Farm Nutrient Balance Calculator can be adapted for use across the country. For up-to-date information, visit the Cornell University Nutrient Management Spear Program's website. For questions, contact Quirine Ketterings (qmk2@cornell.edu or 607 255-3061).

A series of nutrient management fact sheets are also available through the Nutrient Management Spear Program.

Want more information? See the related SARE grant:

This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.