Nutrient Management

The educational materials listed on this page are about Nutrient Management.

A nutrient management plan is used to manage the application of plant nutrients and soil amendments. Integrated nutrient management may include utilizing variable rate application, soil inoculants, microbial inoculants, biologicals, foliar feeding and proper fertigation techniques and fertigation systems. An understanding of nutrient cycling can also aid in budgeting and supplying nutrients for plant production, while minimizing soil and water pollution. Farmers can harness the power of the nitrogen cycle by using organic fertilizer and manure to supply plant nutrients. Careful nutrient management can also improve the overall condition of soil, especially if your plan includes cover crops. Key practices include biological inoculantsnutrient cyclingfertigationorganic fertilizersreduced applicationsfoliar feedingmunicipal wastescover crops.

Building Soils for Better Crops, a book offered by SARE, helps farmers navigate ecological soil management strategies. A useful bulletin, Smart Water Use on your Farm or Ranch, addresses the role of water in a farm system and in nutrient management. The Season Extension: Fertility Management Topic Room helps producers gain knowledge of effective and proper fertility management techniques, including fertigation, to improve nutrient cycling on a farm. What is Sustainable Agriculture? provides information on best practices the encourage the stewardship of land, water and air resources.

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Building Soils for Better Crops

The fourth edition of Building Soils for Better Crops—enhanced and expanded—explains how to use ecological principles to build soil health and boost fertility, yields and overall sustainability.

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New “Conservation Tillage and Soil Health” Video from SARE

The newest episode of SARE’s “What is Sustainable Agriculture?” animation series illustrates how many producers are retiring conventional tillage equipment and turning to conservation tillage to improve soil health and productivity. “Conservation Tillage and Soil Health” provides a short, animated outline of the basic principles of conservation tillage that can be used to introduce or […]

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Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch

As producers throughout the nation grow increasingly concerned about water scarcity, farmers, ranchers and agricultural educators are beginning to explore new, conservation-oriented approaches to water use.

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Conservation Tillage Systems in the Southeast

This production manual provides comprehensive guidance on conservation tillage systems for farms in the southeastern United States. It covers the core components of conservation tillage systems and includes both regional considerations and producer experiences.

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Free Fact Sheets Identify Broad Benefits of Cover Crops

Along with cutting costs and increasing crop productivity, cover crops provide various ecosystem services that benefit the environment both on and off the farm. For instance, adding cover crops to a rotation can significantly increase the portion of the year when living roots are present for soil organisms to feed on, which can have a […]

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Cover Crop Economics Report Now Available in Print

Cover Crops Offer Options in Wet Soil As more farmers across the nation begin to incorporate covers into their rotations, they find that this valuable conservation practice pays in more ways than one. Many farmers in states suffering from oversaturated fields that prevented or delayed planting are considering cover crops. To help farmers evaluate the […]

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When Do Cover Crops Pay? New USDA-SARE Report Addresses the Question

Farmers around the country are planting cover crops on millions of acres to protect and improve the soil, and the more that farmers use cover crops, the more they value this conservation practice. Cover Crop Economics, a new report published by USDA-SARE looks at the economics of cover crops to help farmers answer that big […]

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Cover Crop Economics

Cover crops can build soil health, control weeds, conserve moisture, provide grazing opportunities and more. But when do they start to pay for themselves? This analysis looks at the economics behind different management scenarios to determine if cover crops are likely to improve profitability in one, three or five years of use in corn and soybean rotations. 

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What is Soil Health?

Soil health plays an essential role in raising healthy, productive crops and livestock. With this interactive infographic, learn how practices such as cover crops, no-till, crop rotation and the integration of livestock work in concert to improve soil health.

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Investing in the Next Generation of Agricultural Scientists

Sustainable solutions to today's agricultural challenges arise when scientists, educators and producers work together to test theories in real-world, on-farm situations. For this approach itself to be sustainable, there must be opportunities for the next generation of agricultural scientists to use collaborative, applied research to address the real-world needs of farmers and ranchers. The SARE Graduate Student grant program is one such opportunity—since 2000, the program has supported the work of 600 master's and Ph.D. students.

Cover Crops for Soil Health Workshop Video

Cover Crops for Soil Health Workshop

All session recordings and slide presentations from this three-day professional development workshop are available online. Hosted by Northeast SARE and Delaware State University in March 2016, this event addressed the latest research on the benefits and successful management of cover crops in grain, vegetable and animal production systems.

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2015/2016 Report from the Field

Read about SARE-funded work in the areas of sustainable dairy cropping systems, soil health assessments, nutrient management, cover crops, beginning farmers, pollinators, technical assistance programs for women farmers, and more. This edition includes highlights of projects funded through the graduate student program, and the highly regarded Sustainable Agriculture Fellowship, a professional development program coordinated by SARE and NACAA.

Cover Crops as Part of an Overall Nutrient Management System

In this session, Steven Mirsky (USDA-ARS) and Heather Darby (University of Vermont) discuss the role of cover crops in integrated fertility management and address cover crops in the context of forages, dairies, perennials and pastures, and rotating pasture to grain.

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Improving Nutrient Use Efficiency in Montana Wheat

  "This was a landmark study because we knew we were losing nitrogen, we just didn’t know how we were losing it," says farmer Curtis Hershberger. When nitrogen fertilizers are applied to the soil surface using certain application practices, a significant amount can be lost when the nitrogen converts to ammonia gas and enters the […]

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Cover Crops for Sustainable Crop Rotations

Cover crops are one of the best ways to improve soil health, reduce off-farm inputs and protect natural resources. Find a wealth of educational materials developed out of decades of SARE-funded cover crop research.