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Mid-Atlantic Nutrient Management Handbook

The NIFA Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Program published the Mid-Atlantic Nutrient Management Handbook in April. The new handbook represents a complete rewrite, update, and expansion of a 1995 manual written for the Chesapeake Bay Program. Nutrient management scientists from four universities wrote the handbook, while scientists and practitioners from across the region reviewed it. Virginia Tech provided editorial and technical leadership.

The handbook is organized using an “info-mapping” approach that enhances the arrangement, flow, and readability of the technical information. Its 252 pages contain chapters on all aspects of agronomic nutrient management, including:

  • basic soils and landscapes,
  • soil fertility and chemistry,
  • crop production,
  • soil management,
  • nutrient testing and fertilizer,
  • manure, and;
  • biosolids use.

Particular emphasis is placed on the most recent science regarding nitrogen and phosphorus use in agronomic production in an environmentally sustainable manner.

The Chesapeake Bay Program Nutrient Subcommittee and the nutrient management programs of the Mid-Atlantic States coordinated handbook development to ensure consistency and usefulness. Nutrient management program managers in State and Federal agencies, organizations, and the agricultural industry will be trained to use the new handbook. All five Mid-Atlantic Region States plan to use the handbook in their nutrient management certification and training programs.

The Mid-Atlantic is one of 10 regional programs under the NIFA National Integrated Water Program. All five states in the Mid-Atlantic Region – Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia – have or participate in a nutrient management professional certification program and require nutrient management plans for certain agricultural operations. Nutrient management planning is essential to properly manage nitrogen, phosphorus, and other potential pollutants from fertilizers, manure, biosolids, and other nutrient sources.

The NIFA National Integrated Water Quality Program provided funding to develop the handbook through a competitive grant awarded to the University of Maryland. The Mid-Atlantic Water Program is a research, education, and outreach consortium of all 10 land-grant universities in the region, led by the University of Maryland.


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