Gathering Information to Improve Education, Outreach and the Environment
Fertilizer and manure inputs are an essential component of a sound nutrient management plan. Under some circumstances these essential inputs may have detrimental impacts on Minnesota's water resources. For both agronomic and environmental reasons, establishing a better understanding of nutrient inputs (rates and sources) and their associated management (timing and placement) is needed.
Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) staff is committed to collecting unbiased and accurate information about nutrient management in Minnesota. This information is highly beneficial for:
In 1994, the MDA launched its first attempt at quantifying fertilizer use and management. The diagnostic tool was called FArm Nutrient Management Assessment Program (FANMAP). This tool has provided highly detailed information about agricultural inputs such as fertilizer, manure and pesticides. This tool is extremely useful when working with farmers in regions across Minnesota.
Information about on-farm management and inputs is collected by a personal visit to each farm and typically requires one to two hours of contact. Since its inception, thousands of Minnesota farmers have shared valuable information about their farming practices. For more information, please visit the MDA's FANMAP website.
The MDA has partnered with the USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) and University of Minnesota researchers to collect information about fertilizer use and farm management on a broader scale than FANMAP. Partners have pioneered a survey tool for characterizing fertilizer use and associated management on a regional and statewide scale. Surveys are conducted over the phone. Enumerators from NASS are highly skilled at obtaining critical information over the phone with minimal time and burden on the producer.
These activities are made possible by funding from the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment.
The first attempt using this technique was in 2010. NASS enumerators surveyed approximately 1,500 corn farmers from across the state to gather information about commercial fertilizer use.
Similar to MDA's Pesticide Use Survey, the statewide fertilizer use survey will alternate every other year. Much of the focus will be on corn production, where 70% of the commercial inputs are used. During alternate years, the survey will focus on regional issues in areas of the state where there is a high risk of groundwater contamination.
In 2011, the survey focused on the southeast region. The survey is designed to gather information about nitrogen fertilizer rates, timing of nitrogen application and use of nitrogen inhibitors. The survey was also designed to collect information about manure applications including livestock type, rate and incorporation of manure.
Results will be posted upon completion of the project. We will also post a long-term plan for future target areas, when it is available.
Fertilizer Management Adviser
Denton.Bruening@state.mn.us ~ 651-201-6399
Fertilizer Section Manager
Bruce.Montgomery@state.mn.us ~ 651-201-6178