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Nutrient management classes start in January
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MONROE - How do you know if you are wasting your money on fertilizer? One way is to develop a nutrient management plan.

Farmers can write their own plans if they attend training classes hosted by Green County Land and Water Conservation Department, UW-Extension and Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The classes are offered in Green County for free from 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 24 and 31 at the Green County Justice Center. The computer portion of the class, which is what is used to write the plan, will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24.

With crop prices low, now is the time to recheck your fertility program. The producer needs only to have current soil samples and a willingness to learn in order to take the class. The first two classes give the background on NMPs, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, pH and restriction maps.

Other questions answered after completing an NMP are: Can all the manure produced on the farm be used on the acres run, where is the safest place to spread manure, and what spreading restrictions are there on fields?

Traditionally, the classes have been aimed at those who raise livestock to ensure they are crediting properly for the manure they apply in their cropping system, but it is equally important for cash grain operators to make sure they balance what is in the soil already with the fertilizer they will apply to the crop demand. If more fertilizer is applied than the crops can use, then those excess nutrients create a high potential to be an environmental problem. The nutrients can leach to groundwater, bind to soil particles and leave the field through erosion or reduce the effectiveness of additional fertilizer.

If interested in taking NMP classes or just attending the first two classes to learn the basics of an NMP, contact Tonya Gratz at the Green County Land and Water Conservation Department at 608-325-4195 extension 121 or