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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Fertility Management Focus at Conservation Tillage Conference

February 20, 2007

ADA, Ohio – Effective soil fertility management, either through commercial fertilizer or manure applications, will be a topic of interest for farmers attending Ohio State University Extension's Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference Feb. 22-23 at the MacIntosh Center of Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio.


Nutrient management is one of five topics that dominate this year's Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference – an event designed to educate growers, crop advisers, consultants and others in the agriculture industry on a wide variety of conservation tillage technology, production and management practices.

Robert Mullen, an OSU Extension soil fertility specialist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, will be on hand during the event to discuss issues related to manure application, manure nutrient management, and the economics of a nitrogen program.

One of the topics to be covered relates to fine tuning a farmer's nitrogen program – the economic options that exist under a farmer's current operation.

"There are several different things that can be done with nitrogen management that are all affected by how a producer currently maintains his operation," said Mullen. "Nitrogen rate is a big portion, but there are other issues that a producer needs to keep in mind. This presentation is designed to help producers recognize what aspects of their operation influence their nitrogen decision and how they can go about tailoring that decision."

For farmers more interested in using manure to offset commercial fertilizer costs, Mullen will present topics on properly selecting sites for manure applications and accurately documenting nutrient supply from manure applications.

"The focus is to encourage animal producers to interact with crop producers. Proper manure management is about combating the cultural mindset of ‘I'm an animal producer. Manure is a waste. It has no redeeming value to me.' And marrying that with ‘I'm a crop producer. I can use the manure, but where do I need it.' That's why we spend so much time talking about it," said Mullen.

Effective manure management starts with knowing a soil's fertility criteria to determine which fields should receive manure, and then follow-up with improvements to documenting and maintaining a proper nutrient supply.

"One of the problems with manure application is growers apply manure for the nitrogen, but may forget about the phosphorus and potassium being added to the soil as well. Excess phosphorus can be an environmental hazard," said Mullen. "Knowing the phosphorus level in the soil can help growers decide whether manure application in a certain field is necessary."

Mullen said with manure application increasing in Ohio, proper allocation of nutrient resources over crop fields is becoming increasingly important.

The Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference attracts upwards of 650 participants annually from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Over 60 presenters from seven universities and additional agricultural industries and organizations will be on hand to provide field crop information on insects and diseases, ag technology, nutrient management, soil and water, conservation tillage, and precision farming.

For more information on the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference, or to register, log on to, or call the Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District at (419) 223-0040, then press "3."


Candace Pollock
Robert Mullen