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Components of Integrated Crop Management for Field Crops

Management Practice

Quantify nutrient source: soil reserve, manure, crop residue.

Soil test: pH, lime requirement, phosphorous, potassium (calcium and magnesium optional).

Manure analysis: nitrogen (ammonium N, total N), phosphorus, potassium.

Calibration manure and fertilizer spreaders: tons, 1000's gallons, lbs. per acre.

Fertilization plan:

  • Manure application rate, supplemental fertilizer.
  • Utilize excess manure on alternative crops (hay crops).
  • Avoid applying large amounts of manure on fields with excessive P soil tests
  • Do not over apply nitrogen from manure or fertilizer.

Nitrogen soil test: side- or top-dressing supplemental nitrogen fertilizer.

Cover crop:

  • to reduce soil loss and nitrate leaching; optimal cover when planted by September 15, little value after September 30.
  • consider a legume based cover crop on vegetable farms and on distant fields on dairy farms where manure is not spread.

Planting plan: to ensure early harvest of corn to allow early cover crop planting on most erosion prone fields.

Minimum tillage: to reduce nutrient loss through soil erosion.

Stephen J. Herbert
Dept. of Plant and Soil Sciences
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Crops, Dairy, Livestock News. Vol. 3:2, Winter 1998-99

Last updated: 3/15/05.