Nutrient Management – General Information
New! ATCP 50 rule revision -- background, public hearing schedule, and how to comments
In 1997 Wis. Act 27 and 1999 Wis. Act 9, the legislature directed the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to redesign state programs related to non-point source pollution. To meet this legislative mandate the DATCP adopted ATCP 50 that identifies conservation practices a farmer must follow to meet DNR's performance standards in NR 151. ATCP 50 also reflects DATCP's lead responsibility for nutrient management.
To access 590 Nutrient Application Restriction maps online. Click here.
Nutrient Management Planning - Protecting Wisconsin's rivers, lakes and drinking water by reducing farm runoff. Click here to view this new publication. (4 page PDF)
Manure Runoff Risk
With rising temperatures and deep snow, the risk of runoff from winter applied manure is increased. If you have an emergency response plan, this is a good time to review and update the plan.
If you don't have an emergency response plan, prepare one and know which fields are vulnerable to manure runoff because of their steepness or location near streams or other water resources.
High Risk Fields
Locate your high risk fields at the Manure Management Advisory system website.
Manure Spill Emergency Response Plan:
2 page Word document 2 page PDF
Agricultural Performance Standards in NR 151
Cropland Performance Standards:
- Control erosion to meet tolerable soil loss (T)
- Apply nutrients to crop needs (Nutrient Management NRCS 590 Technical Standard)
Livestock Performance Standards:
- Construct manure storage facilities to standards (NRCS Technical Standard 313)
- Divert clean water around feedlots in water quality management areas 300' from streams and 1,000' feet to lakes (NRCS Clean Water Diversions Technical Standard 362)
- Manure Management Prohibitions
- No overflow of manure storage structures
- No unconfined manure stacks in Water Quality Management Areas
- No direct runoff from feedlots or stored manure to waters of the state.
- No unlimited livestock access to waters of the state so that adequate sod cover cannot be maintained.
Nutrient Management Standards in ATCP 50:
Farmers applying nutrients must have and follow an annual nutrient management plan if required by a municipality or if cost sharing is offered. Nutrients include manure, legume nitrogen, organic byproducts and commercial fertilizer. The plan must comply with NRCS standard 590 and must include every field on which the farmer mechanically applies nutrients.
Under NRCS standard 590:
- Soil must be tested a minimum of once every 4 years by an approved soil test laboratory.
- Nutrient applications may not exceed the amounts required to achieve crop fertility levels recommended by the University of Wisconsin Extension publication A-2809 Soil Test Recommendations for Field, Vegetable and Fruit Crops, unless the nutrient management planner documents a special agronomic need for the deviation.
- No manure or organic byproducts may be applied:
- In waterways, or on frozen slopes greater than 9% (12% for contoured areas with all crop residue remaining).
- Within 200 feet of groundwater conduits such as sinkholes, fractured bedrock or wells unless incorporated into the soil within 72 hours.
A qualified nutrient management planner must prepare each nutrient management plan. Persons holding one of the certifications are presumptively qualified to prepare a nutrient management plan.
Farmers may go through training to develop their own NM plans. Click here to access available planners and find NM forms.
Nutrient Management Performance Standard
Phased Implementation Dates:
- First applies to "new" cropland on October 1, 2003.
- First applies on Jan 1, 2005 to existing farming operations in or near outstanding & exceptional resource waters, impaired resource waters, and within source water protection areas.
- First applies on Jan 1, 2008 to all other existing farming operations.
Performance Standard Compliance
New vs. Existing Cropland & Operations
Includes fields without a crop history from anytime in the last 10 years and changes to non-complying cropping practices at and after the effective date of the performance standard. New operations also include newly constructed portions of the facility to accommodate a change in livestock, replaced manure storage liner, or a 20% increase in volume or capacity of the facility. New operations may be required to comply with the performance standard without cost sharing.
Existing - Includes cropland and livestock operations in existence at the effective date of the performance standard and are not in compliance with the performance standard. Existing operations may be required to comply with the performance standard if an offer of cost sharing is made to the producer.
Counties typically use cost-share grants to encourage voluntary compliance. In return for a cost-share grant, a farmer agrees to implement nutrient management for a specified number of years. The county and farmer are free to negotiate the contract terms, including the cost-share amount.
Different cost-share requirements apply if a county or local government requires a farmer to implement nutrient management practices that change an "existing" farming operation. In these cases, the county or local government must offer cost sharing. If cost sharing is required, the cost-share offer must cover at least 70% of the farmer's annual cost to implement nutrient management (90% if there is an economic hardship). The farmer may accept an alternative flat payment for some practices listed in ATCP 50.42(2) Wis. Admin. Code.
If a county or local government cost-shares nutrient management for at least 4 years at 70% or a flat rate of $7 per acre per year, it may then require the farmer to continue this practices at the farmer's expense. A county or local government may continue to cost-share if it chooses to do so.
A local livestock ordinance may not exceed state standards unless DATCP or DNR finds that the ordinance is needed to protect water quality. A livestock operator may challenge an ordinance in court if the operator believes that it exceeds state standards and has not been approved by DATCP or DNR.
A nutrient management plan required for a manure storage facility permit, voluntarily constructed by a farmer, is not required to have cost share provided under ATCP 50.54(2)(b). In other situations cost-sharing may be required by ordinances requiring a farmer to prepare a nutrient management plan for an existing operation, close an idle manure storage facility, and repair or close a leaking or failing facility. A nutrient management plan submitted by the applicant must comply with s. ATCP 50.04(3).
Bulk Fertilizer Sales
A person selling bulk agricultural fertilizer to a farmer must record the name and address of the person who prepared the farmer's nutrient management plan, if any. This rule does not prohibit sales to farmers who do not yet have plans.
Soil Testing Laboratories
A nutrient management plan must be based on soil tests conducted by a DATCP certified laboratory.
DATCP Certified laboratories:
For more information contact Sue Porter 608-224-4605.
Nutrient Management Planning Page
Find nutrient management planning forms and other information to help in the planning process, either for farmers or certified planners.
Other Resources Page
Find links to other resources that provide information on nutrient management planning.
To access 590 Nutrient Application Restriction maps online. Click here.