The Nutrient Management Initiative (NMI) program assists farmers with fine tuning their nutrient application rates by comparing different nutrient rates and evaluating their economic outcomes. Participating farmers work with a certified crop adviser and set up test comparisons on their own farm. Upon completion of the program the farmer and certified crop adviser receive an economic analysis based on the farmer’s actual nutrient costs and yields from these replicated strips using an average yearly corn price. Participating farmers receive $1,408 for their time and the crop adviser’s time spent on the project.
Farmers work with a certified crop adviser who assists with site design, validates cropping information, and yield results. Fields eligible for the program are preferably high-producing corn on corn or corn following soybean fields with little variability and no recent manure or alfalfa history.
Using a set protocol, farmers compare their normal application rate and another rate. Each rate is replicated three times in adjacent strips. Nitrogen rate sites must maintain a minimum of 30-pound N rate difference and also require a short check strip where little or no N is applied. Applications must follow established Best Management Practices (BMPs).
The Nutrient Management Initiative program is available in MN USDA-NRCS areas: 4, 5, 6, & 7 and any cropland located within a vulnerable wellhead protection area in other parts of the state.
Farmers enroll must sign-up through their county USDA-NRCS Office. To insure payment, farmers must sign an Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contract along with a signed Producer Agreement prior to participation. Participation can be for one year or up to three years. The farmer’s identity is kept confidential.
Fertilizer Field Unit
Pesticide & Fertilizer Management Division
Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), 625 Robert Street N, St. Paul, MN 55155-2538, firstname.lastname@example.org