Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Soil Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/9/2003
Publication Date: 1/16/2006
Citation: Delgado, J.A., Lemunyon, J. 2006. Nutrient management. pp. 1157-1160. Rattan Lal, Editor. Marcel Decker, New York. Encyclopedia of Soil Science. p. 1924.
Interpretive Summary: Nutrient managers have the difficult task to balance the rate, form, timing, and method of application of multiple nutrients, at the same time being aware of the differences in fate and transport of these nutrients, and still understand the effect of soil, weather, crop and hydrologic cycles in nutrient availability and dynamics plus the fate and transport. Nutrient managers have to understand nutrient cycling with both spatial and temporal variability. They have to become experts in soil, water, and pest management and those interactions to nutrient availability. The science and art of nutrient management has come a long way in the last decade due to integration of new developments in the areas of computers, simulation models, GIS, GPS and other in-situ sensors. Technology will continue to advance and help integrate these multiple factors for agricultural sustainability and profitability. Independent of new technologies, nutrient management will be driven by the basic principles of intensive and solid research about sinks and sources and methods of management and application that will maximize yields and reduce off-site transport. Nutrient management is the key that will maximize nutrient use efficiency and minimize off-site transport.
Technical Abstract: Nutrient Management is the science and art directed to link soil, crop, weather and hydrologic factors with cultural, irrigation and soil and water conservation practices to achieve the goals of optimizing nutrient use efficiency, yields, crop quality, and economical returns, while reducing off-site transport of nutrients that may impact the environment. Nutrient management is the skillfull task of matching the specific field soil, climate, and crop management conditions to the rate, form, timing, place, and method of nutrient application. There can be potential interaction due to differences in nutrient pathways and dynamics. For instance, practices that reduce the off-site surface transport of a given nutrient, may increase the leaching losses of other nutrient. These complex dynamics present nutrient managers the difficult task to integrate soil, crop, weather, hydrology and management practices to achieve the best balance for maximizing profit while contributing to the conservation of our biosphere.