Soil Nutrient Management Toolkit

This Toolkit contains resources in the following categories. Note: Some resources appear in multiple categories.

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General Soil Nutrient Management

Overarching best practices to manage soil health, nutrients, erosion, and water retention.


Source: SARE | Type: Reference
A thorough, easy-to-read guide for ecological soil management, including nutrient management, nutrient cycles, cover crops, and other soil-improving practices.


Source: UC ANR | Type: Reference
Strategies to increase soil fertility in organic crops, including determining plant nutrient needs, characteristics of organic fertilizers, and the use of cover crops and humus.


Source: CAWSI | Type: Reference
An overview of strategies to increase soil organic matter, save water, and reduce tillage. Includes links to a series of farmer case studies. Focuses on CA, but applicable to other regions.

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Drought-Specific Strategy

Strategies to maintain plant health and yield, and retain soil nutrients when water is scarce.


Source: UC ANR | Type: Webinar
UC Cooperative Extension Advisor Jeff Mitchell discusses conservation agriculture and strategies to increase the fertility and water storage capacity of the soil.


Source: UC ANR | Type: Reference
Discussion of drought management strategies for almond crops, including reducing nitrogen application.


Source: Westover Vineyard Advising | Type: Reference
Vineyard management recommendations in times of drought, including tips on canopy management, nitrogen application, and reducing weeds.


Source: The National Drought Mitigation Center | Type: Reference
Interactive tool that monitors drought conditions in regions across the US. Updated weekly.

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Nutrient Budgeting

Resources to help you devise a nutrient budget, reduce over-fertilization, and maintain optimum plant growth.


Source: SARE & NRAES | Type: Reference
Detailed manual on how to reduce pest problems with crop rotations, methods to systematically plan crop rotations (including worksheet templates), and guidelines for intercropping.


Source: University of Illinois | Type: Reference
Basic guide to the three common types of on-farm nutrient budgets (farm gate, field or surface and system) in organic systems and recommendations on when and how to use them.


Source: CDFA | Type: Reference
Interactive resource with details on best fertilization practices for a variety of crops, such as tomatoes, corn, broccoli, and lettuce.


Source: NRCS | Type: Calculator/Wizard
Tool calculates the approximate amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium removed from the soil when you harvest a variety of different crops.

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Crop Rotations & Cover Crops

Tools to determine which cover crop varieties are best suited for your farm system and the best methods for systematically planning crop rotations.


Source: UC ANR | Type: Reference
Guide to determine which cover crop varieties are best suited for your farm system, including details on optimum seeding conditions, growth habits, and time to maturity.


Source: SAREP | Type: Reference
Robust database of a variety of cover crops and their detailed growth habits, including water needs, herbicide sensitivity, and mowing schedule.


Source: SARE | Type: Reference
Guide to how nutrients are released from organic matter, the nitrogen contributions from legume and winter cover crops, and the effect of crop rotations on retaining soil fertility.

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Tillage & No-Till

Tillage methods, tillage equipment, and strategies to increase the residue and water holding capacity of your soil.


Source: Penn State Extension | Type: Reference
Guide to the benefits and drawbacks of no-till, definitions of different tillage methods, and equipment recommendations for each type.


Source: UC ANR | Type: Webinar
UC Cooperative Extension Advisor Jeff Mitchell discusses conservation agriculture and strategies to increase the fertility and water storage capacity of the soil.


Source: NRCS | Type: Reference
Easy-to-use guide with color photos of commonly used tillage equipment.


Source: CASI | Type: Video
Six-part video documentary series explains how no-till and minimum-till agriculture and overhead precision irrigation can lead to higher irrigation efficiency, increased profitability, and greater resource conservation.

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Manure & Compost

Resources on the nutrient composition of compost and manure, tips for making your own compost, and proper application rates to prevent leaching.


Source: UMass Amherst | Type: Reference
Basic information about available nutrients in compost, such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.


Source: Center for Environmental Farming Systems | Type: Reference
Guide for those making their own compost, including compost recipes, application rates, and some potential problems that may arise during the composting process.


Source: University of Minnesota Extension | Type: Reference
Comparisons of composition of fresh and composted manure, nutrient availability from manure/compost, and calculations of how much manure/compost to apply to specialty crop systems.


Source: Sustainable Conservation | Type: Reference
Study discussing innovative ways dairy farmers can address air and water quality impacts from manure production, such as manure composting, feed management, waste to energy technologies, and land swapping.

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Vineyard Management

Resources on grape production, cover cropping systems, grapevine fertilization, and rootstock health.


Source: Westover Vineyard Advising | Type: Reference
Vineyard management recommendations in times of drought, including tips on canopy management, nitrogen application, and reducing weeds.


Source: CDFA | Type: Reference
Interactive reference with best fertilization practices at different stages of growth, including application rates and modes of application for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.


Source: UC Cooperative Extension | Type: Reference
Basic guide to organic vineyard floor management, including cover cropping systems, no-till techniques, and spring mowing.


Source: Cornell University | Type: Reference
Extensive and thorough guide to improve vineyard health and reduce pest problems, including tips on fertility management, rootstock health, and developing an IPM strategy.

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Environmental Issues

Environmental effects of dairy and agriculture systems and ways to reduce the leaching of pollutants from your farm.


Source: CCOF | Type: Reference
Basic strategies to prevent nutrient leaching and subsequent environmental degradation.


Source: Sustainable Conservation | Type: Reference
Study discussing innovative ways dairy farmers can address air and water quality impacts from manure production, such as manure composting, feed management, waste to energy technologies, and land swapping.

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