To understand the long-term nutrient management planning you must first recognize that -- from a nutrient point of view -- farms are leaky systems (or ecosystems) compared to the natural environment. For example, if one were to compare a 500 acres woodlot and a 500 acre dairy farm, 10 times more nutrients can escape from farm ecosystem compared to the woodlot ecosystem.
Regulations, permits, environmental sustainability, and economic common sense, are all pressures farms face when working to make the farm as nutrient “tight” as possible. The CNMP and continuing annual NMP update are the guides to help you adjust to ever broadening regulatory landscape.
Nutrients escape the farm at two places: the field areas and the animal production area. FCS works to address both of these areas and helps to develop alternatives that will close the nutrient loops so the farm increases efficiency. The field data section of a CNMP/NMP provides information concerning the field attributes, runoff and erosion potential, tillage, crop rotations, and other field resource concerns. The second place for nutrient loss is the farms production area. CNMP provide existing component descriptions and details on how the entire production area runs and handles the farms annual waste streams. This includes analysis of annual manure volumes, various waste sources, and options for improving nutrient utilization on the farm. Both the field and production area data are relevant to the nutrient utilization and losses that occur and affect the whole farm nutrient budget.