From Agronomists of the
Potash & Phosphate Institute
655 Engineering Drive, Suite 110
Norcross, Georgia 30092-2837
Phone (770) 447-0335

Spring 2006, No. 1


Fertilizers still play an important role on dairy farms. While a lot of progress has been made in adopting best management practices (BMPs) for manures, it’s equally important to manage fertilizers well. Applying them at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place optimizes profitability and efficiency, and minimizes impact on the environment.

Soil fertility cannot be taken for granted. While soil test phosphorus levels on New York dairy farms are trending upward, more than half of the cropland still falls below the critical level for crop needs. The same is true in many other areas. Dairy farming involves large removals of nutrients in forages, and large nutrient additions in manures. The intense nutrient cycling results in widely varying soil test levels.

The BMPs for efficient fertilizer use fall into three general categories. For each category, there are key management practices that foster the effective and responsible use of fertilizers. These are: Put the needs of the crop first. Managing nutrients on the dairy farm demands balanced attention to both fertilizers and manures. The BMPs that ensure efficient use of both will best sustain the crops that nourish dairy cattle.

Selecting the right BMPs for your farm is a site-specific choice. A Certified Crop Adviser or other technical professionals can help you make the right choices.

For more information, contact Dr. Tom Bruulsema, Eastern Canada and Northeast U.S. Director, PPI, 18 Maplewood Drive, Guelph, Ontario N1G 1L8, Canada. Phone: (519) 821-5519; E-mail:

Spring 2006-1 AB.pdf
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