While most of you already have a nutrient management plan for your pork operation, you'll need to expand it within the next two years. As part of the pending Confined Animal Feeding Operation's guidelines, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will require a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan.

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service is defining the nutrient elements of these plans. There are nine components to include in your CNMP:

1. Site maps, including a soil map
These maps are usually part of your overall conservation plan. They include, aerial photographs, computer-generated, geographic information system maps and printouts as well as hand-drawn sketches. Information is provided where you land-apply nutrients. This includes field boundary and acreage, location of any sensitive areas, existing soil types and characteristics.

2. Location and description of sensitive resource areas
If present, sensitive resource areas will be drawn on the site map. These areas may be highly erodible land, sole-source aquifer recharge areas, highly leachable soils, fields that have a high risk for phosphorus transport, areas in close proximity to neighbors or public areas.

Assessment tools and maps are available in the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide, which you can find at www.nhq.nrcs.usda.gov/Pro grams/ahcwpd/CNMPTG.pdf.

3. Soil, water, crop and manure analysis
You must include sample analysis of the soil, plants, water and organic materials, including hog manure used for nutrients.

4. Current or planned crop production sequence or crop rotation
It's essential to have a three- to five-year history of past, present and future crops for your nutrient management plan. This will help you determine your crops' nutrient needs and amount of carryover.

5. Expected yields
Soil, climate, crop variety and management skills are all factors in determining your crop yields. Consult with your state Extension service personnel or crop consultant for acceptable methods used in your area.

6. Nutrient sources available
Nutrient sources may include soil reserves, commercial fertilizer, animal manure and other organic waste products, irrigation water, atmospheric deposition and legume credits. Once again, check with your consultant for an accurate analysis.

7. Develop a nutrient budget for your planned crop rotation
A nutrient budget determines the amount of nutrients available from all sources and compares this to the amount of nutrients required to meet the expected yield. If the crop-yield nutrient requirement exceeds available sources, then you'll need to apply additional nutrients. If nutrient supplies exceed crop requirements, then you must take management measures to ensure the excess nutrients are either reduced or their application will not cause detrimental effects to area resources.

8. Recommended rates, timing and method of nutrient application
You'll receive three specifications for nutrient application. The application rate depends on the nutrient budget results.

Timing is determined by the crop's growth stage, field conditions for application, equipment and climatic conditions.

How the nutrient is applied will be based on its form and consistency, soil and weather conditions and potential for movement or loss to the environment.

9. Operation and maintenance of the nutrient management plan
Review and update your plan on a regular basis. This includes taking periodic soil tests to track soil reserves, calibrating application equipment to maintain consistent nutrient amounts, supplying uniform and precise nutrient amounts and maintaining manure management records.

If you have any or all of this nutrient management information available, start compiling it now. Having it available in one location, either in a notebook, file or on your computer, will make life easier during the next couple of years.