Register January 2017 No. 733
Chapter ATCP 51
NRCS 590
Nutrient Management
Code 590
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Conservation Practice Standard
I. Definition
Managing the amount, source, placement, form, and timing of the application of nutrients and soil amendments.
ll. Purposes
This standard establishes the acceptable criteria and documentation requirements for a plan that addresses the application and budgeting1 of nutrients for plant production. All nutrient sources, including soil reserves, commercial fertilizer, manure, organic byproducts, legume crops, and crop residues shall be accounted for and properly utilized. These criteria are intended to minimize nutrient entry into surface water, groundwater, and atmospheric resources while maintaining and improving the physical, chemical, and biological condition of the soil.
lll. Conditions Where Practice Applies
This standard applies to all fields where plant nutrient sources and soil amendments are applied during the course of a rotation.
lV. Federal, State, and Local Laws
Users of this standard are responsible for compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules, or regulations governing nutrient management systems. This standard does not contain the text of federal, state, or local laws. Implementation of this standard may not eliminate nutrient losses that could result in a violation of law.
V. Criteria
This section establishes requirements for planning, design parameters, acceptable management processes, and performance requirements for nutrient management plan development and implementation. Nutrient management plans shall be prepared according to all of Criteria A., B., C., D., and E.
All of the information contained in this section is required. Wisconsin Conservation Planning Technical Note WI-1 is the companion document to this standard and includes criteria that are required where referenced within this section.
A. Criteria for Surface and Groundwater Resources
1. Nutrient Criteria for All Sites
a. Develop and implement an annual field-specific nutrient application plan. Account for the source, rate, timing, form, and method of application for all major nutrients consistent with this standard and soil fertility recommendations found in University of Wisconsin-Extension (UWEX) Publication A2809, “Soil Test Recommendations for Field, Vegetable and Fruit Crops," unless use of one the following options are appropriate:
  For crops not listed in A2809, use other appropriate Land Grant University recommendations.
  For nutrient application decisions based on plant tissue analysis, the sampling and testing of plants and the resulting nutrient recommendations shall be done in accordance with University of Wisconsin recommendations. See V.A.1.L.
Annual plan updates shall document the crops, tillage, nutrient application rates, and methods actually implemented.
b. The plan shall be based on yield goals that are attainable under average growing conditions and established using soil productivity, local climate information, multi-year documented yields, and/or local research on yields for similar soils and crop management systems. Yield goals should not be higher than 15% above the previous 3-5 year average.
c. Soils shall be tested a minimum of once every four years by a DATCP-certified laboratory for pH, phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and organic matter. A laboratory list is provided in Appendix 2 of the Wisconsin Conservation Planning Technical Note WI-1. Soil sampling shall be consistent with UWEX Publication A2100, “Sampling Soils for Testing." For perennial fruit crops, use of soil test recommendations from UWEX Publication A2809 is only required as the basis for fertilizer applications prior to establishment of new plantings. Subsequent nutrient recommendations should be based on plant tissue analysis results. See V.A.1.L.
d.   Annual P and K nutrient recommendations may be combined into a single application that does not exceed the total nutrient recommendation for the rotation. This combined annual application is not allowed on frozen or snow covered soil. Commercial P fertilizers shall not be applied to soils with P tests in the non-responsive range for the crop being grown with the exception of not more than 20 pounds per acre P2O5 as starter for corn or recommended rates of starter P2O5 for potatoes and other vegetable crops as identified in UWEX Publication A3422, “Commercial Vegetable Production in Wisconsin." All the P and K starter fertilizer shall be credited against crop needs. When grouping fields for nutrient application purposes, N, P, and K application rates shall match individual field recommendations as closely as possible.
e.   Where practical, adjust soil pH to the specific range of the crop(s) grown to optimize nutrient utilization.
f.   Available nitrogen from all sources shall not exceed the annual N requirement of non-legume crops consistent with UWEX Publication A2809, or the annual N uptake by legume crops. Because of variability in N mineralization and manure applications, it is acceptable for available N to be up to 20% more than the recommended N rate when legumes, manures, and organic byproducts are used to meet the entire N requirement of the crop to be grown.
Starter N fertilizers are to be credited against crop needs as follows: all N beyond 20 pounds per acres for corn and 40 pounds per acre for potatoes.
g.   First year available N in manure applied to fields prior to legume crop establishment shall not exceed the first year's annual N removal by legumes and companion crop. See Wisconsin Conservation Planning Technical Note WI-1, Part II B.4.
h.   First and second-year legume credits shall be applied as identified in UWEX Publication A2809, Table 25, or through soil nitrate testing as identified in UWEX Publication A3624, “Soil Nitrate Tests for Wisconsin Cropping Systems."
i.   Estimates of first-year available nutrient credits for manure shall be established in accordance with one of the following methods:
(1)   A manure analysis from a laboratory participating in the Manure Analysis Proficiency (MAP) testing program and interpreted according to Part III, Table 3 of the Wisconsin Conservation Planning Technical Note WI-1, or
(2)   Estimates of first-year available nutrients from manure. See Part III, Table 4 of the Wisconsin Conservation Planning Technical Note WI-1.
Note: It is strongly recommended that second-year nutrient credits, especially for areas receiving consecutive manure applications, be included in the nutrient management plan using values in Part III, Table 4 of Wisconsin Conservation Planning Technical Note WI-1 or soil nitrate testing.
j.   Organic byproducts other than manure (i.e., industrial wastes, municipal sludge, and septage) applied to fields shall be analyzed for nutrient content and applied in accordance with applicable regulations including restrictions on heavy metal content and land application rates.
k.   Manures, organic byproducts, and fertilizers shall not run off the field site during or immediately after application. If ponding, runoff, or drainage to subsurface tiles of the applied materials occurs, implement the following activities as appropriate:
(1) Stop application.
(2) Take corrective action to prevent offsite movement.
(3) Modify the application (rate, method, depth of injection, timing) to eliminate runoff or drainage to subsurface tiles.
(4) Notify the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) in the event that a spill or accidental release of any material or substance when required by the Agricultural Spill Law (s.289.11, Wis. Stats.) or the terms of a WPDES permit. Refer to the Wisconsin Conservation Planning Technical Note WI-1, Part IV, for contact information and “Agricultural Spills and How to Handle Them," Pub-RR-687-2002, August 2002.
L. Where nutrient application decisions are based on plant tissue analysis, the sampling and testing of plants and the resulting nutrient recommendations shall be done in accordance with University of Wisconsin recommendations in the references section of this standard. Nutrient recommendations for cranberries may be based on plant analysis as defined by appropriate publications in the references section of this standard.
m. Where gleaning/pasturing occurs, verify through computations that the nutrients deposited as manure within a field, do not exceed the N and P requirements of this standard.
2. Nutrient Application Prohibitions
a.   Nutrients shall not be spread on the following features.
(1) Surface water, established concentrated flow channels, or non-harvested permanent vegetative buffers.
(2) A non-farmed wetland, sinkhole, nonmetallic mine, or well.
(3) The area within 50 feet of a potable drinking water well shall not receive mechanical applications of manure.
(4) Areas contributing runoff within 200 feet upslope of direct conduits to groundwater such as a well, sinkhole, fractured bedrock at the surface, tile inlet, or nonmetallic mine unless the nutrients are effectively incorporated within 72 hours.
(5) Land where vegetation is not removed mechanically or by grazing, except to provide nutrients for establishment and maintenance, unless necessary in an emergency situation.
(6) Fields exceeding tolerable soil loss (T). Erosion controls shall be implemented so that tolerable soil loss (T) over the crop rotation will not be exceeded on fields that receive nutrients.
b.   When frozen or snow-covered soils prevent effective incorporation at the time of application and the nutrient application is allowed, implement the following:
(1) Do not apply nutrients within the Surface Water Quality Management Area (SWQMA) except for manure deposited through winter gleaning/pasturing of plant residue.
(2) Do not apply nutrients to locally identified areas delineated in a conservation plan as contributing nutrients to direct conduits to groundwater or surface water as a result of runoff.
(3) Do not exceed the P removal of the following growing season's crop when applying manure. Liquid manure applications are limited to 7,000 gallons per acre. The balance of the crop nutrient requirement may be applied the following spring or summer. Winter applications shall be conducted according to Section VII.B.
(4)   Do not apply nutrients on slopes greater than 9%, except for manure on slopes up to 12% where cropland is contoured or contour strip cropped.
(5) Do not apply N and P in the form of commercial fertilizer. An exception is allowed for grass pastures and on winter grains that do not fall within a prohibition area defined by V.A.2.
3.   Nutrient Application Restrictions
a.   When unincorporated liquid manure applications (less than 12% solids) occur on non-frozen soils within a SWQMA, use Table 1 to determine maximum acceptable rates. No applications are allowed on saturated soils.
Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.