NRCS Changes 590 Standard

10-31-2013 in Commodities

The Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has rolled out a revised 590 Nutrient Management Practice Standard. These changes affect livestock and poultry farmers who have taken, or are considering applying for, EQIP funding.

General changes include:

  • Aligned better with the nutrient management conservation planning process.
  • More consistent use of 4Rs language (the Right nutrient source applied at the Right rate in the Right place at the Right time) to describe nutrient management planning.
  • Manure and commercial fertilizer management are treated more similarly than different.

Significant changes include:

  • Adds municipal and industrial biosolids management as sources of plant nutrients as a purpose, plus related criteria.
  • Ads manure with high ammonium content and MAP/DAP to the current anhydrous criteria for fall application (50 degrees or colder)
  • Adds a “Rescue Nitrogen Application” section to the criteria, which allows over-application of N when weather causes a loss of N. Specifies evaluating the cause of the N loss, and formulating and evaluating management alternatives.
  • Eliminates the requirement that sheet and rill erosion be controlled to Tolerable Soil Loss or “T”. Requires that when “T” is not met the P-Index be used and met.
  • Specifies additional conservation practices that can be used to control and trap nutrients preventing them from being delivered to surface or ground water.
  • “Sensitive areas” changes include: Adds tile inlets to the list of water quality sensitive areas.  Sensitive area nutrient application restrictions apply to all P & N nutrient sources. 50’ filter strip can be substituted for the 200’ setback. (Editor’s note: manure can be applied within 200’ of a tile inlet IF it is incorporated within 24 hours.)
  • Specifies that fields within well source water protection areas be identified on plan map
  • Adds that manure testing will be done by a certified lab.
  • Switches from “yield goal” language to “realistic yield potential” and provides simpler methodologies to estimate.
  • Adds guidance to use adaptive nutrient management.
  • Emphasizes calibration.

Other changes are:

  • Adds “reducing odor” to the air quality purpose and provides considerations for planning.
  • Adds criteria for organic crop production
  • Adds specifications for precision agriculture.
  • Adds organic matter analysis to each soil test (previously every 12 years).
  • Removes the reference to using the Iowa 303d impaired waters list to trigger the use of the P-Index. The old criteria “Directly draining into…” a 303d listed water body was difficult to define and implement. The replacement trigger criteria are designed to require the use of the P-Index when there is a potential that the risk of P runoff is high.
  • Adds a Leaching Index report which estimates the likelihood that water will leach through the field. Interpretations will be used for educational purposes.
  • Promotes innovative use of cover crops to manage nutrients.
  • Will be providing considerations in the form of a technical note to improve soil quality.

Areas of no changes from the previous 590 standard:

  • The Iowa Phosphorus Index and interpretations remain the same.
  • Applications of manure to frozen, snow covered, or saturated soils is precluded except for some emergency situations (but the language has been modified).
  • No direct cap on soil test phosphorus.

For more information, the entire practice standard is available online. Questions can be directed to Eric Hurley, Iowa NRCS nutrient management specialist, at 515-323-2243 or, or your county NRCS office or nutrient management consultant.

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