Crop growers in the Western Lake Erie Basin have a new opportunity to improve nutrient management this winter. Under a new grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, growers can work with their ag retailers and resource specialists with the IPM Institute of North America to develop a plan for their farm to improve profitability and protect water quality.
“Nutrients are key resources required to grow crops,” reports Dr. Thomas Green, president of the IPM Institute. “When nutrients are lost from cropland, farmers lose money and water quality can suffer. Ag retailers are in the forefront of developing innovative and effective solutions. This new grant provides us an opportunity to work with farmers and their retailer to identify the best strategies for their farms.”
The project provides for a full-time plan writer to complete nutrient management plans that meet the needs of growers and ag retailers, and follow criteria set by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Plans will follow the 4R concept: right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place.
There are many benefits from having a current plan including:
- Maintaining an adequate and balanced supply of nutrients to ensure optimum yields.
- Minimize nutrient losses to surface and groundwater.
- Optimize the physical, chemical and biological soil condition for future production.
- Maintain profitability.
In addition to developing plans, the project will also include a training workshop for Certified Crop Advisors working at ag retail locations in the Western Lake Erie Basin to become Technical Service Providers, a requirement for NRCS programs.