Fertilizer and Manure Selection and Management Practices Associated with Minnesota's 2010 Corn and Wheat Production

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is responsible for the development and promotion of nitrogen Best Management Practices (BMPs) which optimize production and profitability while protecting the state's water resources. The MDA is also responsible for monitoring nitrogen use and for promoting the adoption of associated BMPs. This survey was designed and conducted in partnership with the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to specifically assess the status of BMP awareness and adoption in relation to the use of nitrogen on corn and wheat acres though the use of commercial nitrogen and manure. In Minnesota, nitrate is detected frequently in groundwater and surface water resources. Nitrates may exceed the drinking water standards in groundwater in some areas, and sometimes exceeds the surface water standard. The MDA has invested considerable staff time in water monitoring, development of BMP education programs, and BMP assessment. Commercial fertilizer containing nitrogen and manure management in regards to nitrogen is the main focus of this survey. Phone enumerators located at NASS contacted over 9,000 producers (7,000 corn farmers and 2,000 wheat farmers) in early 2011. From this pool, approximately 5,500 farmers who raised corn or wheat during the 2010 growing season, or applied manure on corn acres, shared valuable information on commercial nitrogen applications, manure rates and management practices associated with both manure and commercial nitrogen. Farmers were randomly selected by county across Minnesota for the Fertilizer use survey with over sampling of counties in southeast Minnesota. In the southeast counties, all corn farmers were in the sample data base. Wheat farmers came from all a data base of all wheat farmers across Minnesota, who did not participate in the corn survey. Earners who applied manure were a subset of the farmers who were drawn for the commercial nitrogen applications. The general purpose of this survey was to ask farmers about commercial nitrogen applications on corn and wheat acres, and fundamental manure use practices such as manure use, rates, applications, incorporation, types of manure and other management decisions based on manure use on corn acres. The majority of nitrogen applied on Minnesota fields is applied on corn and wheat acres. These types of surveys help MDA understand regulatory compliance, adoption of voluntary practices, potential informational roadblocks, and opportunities for future technical assistance. Every other year, the MDA has partnered with NASS to produce a detailed report on nitrogen use and rates used on the state's major crops. The first nitrogen use survey was conducted in 2009 and was designed for commercial nitrogen use on corn. Readers are encouraged to visit the two reports from this survey at: 2009 Survey of Nitrogen Fertilizer Use at: http ://www.mda.state.mn .us/protectinq/cteanwaterfund/qwdwprotection/nutrientmgmt survey.aspx On alternate years, farmers are interviewed on BMPs associated with their commercial nitrogen and manure applications. Due to the length and detail of the surveys, it would not be feasible to interview farmers on both nitrogen applications and nitrogen BMPs at the same time.
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Minnesota Water Research Digital Library
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Public Domain