What is a Nutrient Management Plan?
A nutrient management plan (NMP) is a written plan that describes how the major plant nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur and potassium, and any others of importance to specialist crops) will be managed. See fact sheets 7& 8. The NMP applies only to that area of the property which is under the direct management oversight of the property manager. The nutrient management plan aims to optimise production and maximise profit value from nutrient inputs while avoiding or minimising adverse effects on the environment.
A good NMP:
- ensures that nutrient management meets all legal and industry requirements,
- includes a nutrient budget which compares nutrient inputs from all sources with all nutrient outputs,
- achieves desired changes in nutrient levels and production (e.g. increasing soil fertility from a poor base to support a higher stock carrying capacity; altering soil nutrient status to suit future crops),
- minimises the cost of supplying nutrients and avoids wasted spending on unnecessary or unused nutrients,
- minimises the risk of damage to the environment, and
- considers the land manager’s personal objectives.
The sample NMP template is provided in Appendix 4 of this document. This template which adheres to the objectives as outlined in the Code illustrates one type of plan that land managers can use or adapt to suit their circumstances.
Use of this particular template is not essential under the Code but users of alternative NMP templates must be able to demonstrate that their plan includes the following:
- the Code specific objectives
- evidence that environmental risks have been assessed and addressed
- a list of all legal and industry requirements which are relevant to the identified nutrient management activities undertaken on the property
- an appropriate nutrient budget
and must outline:
- the management practices adopted to avoid or reduce the environmental risks associated with the nutrient management activities undertaken on the property.