Nutrient Management

Nutrient management involves managing the amount, placement, and timing of plant nutrients to obtain optimum yields and minimize the risk of surface and groundwater pollution.

The 4Rs

The 4Rs were created to educate and promote wise nutrient management to conserve water quality and soil health using four “rights”:

  • Right Source: Ensure a balanced supply of essential nutrients, considering both naturally available sources and the characteristics of specific products, in plant available forms.
  • Right Rate: Assess and make decisions based on soil nutrient supply and plant demand.
  • Right Time: Assess and make decisions based on the dynamics of crop uptake, soil supply, nutrient loss risks, and field operation logistics.
  • Right Place: Address root-soil dynamics and nutrient movement, and manage spatial variability within the field to meet site-specific crop needs and limit potential losses from the field.

ODA and OSU Extension Offer Online Pesticide Re-Certification

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), is partnering with the Ohio State University Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) to temporarily provide online recertification for pesticide applicators and fertilizer certificate holders whose licenses expired in spring of 2020. The online recertification will be available Monday, July 6. For commercial applicators, it will be available August 10.  For more information or to register for the online recertification, visit Pesticide Certification

The online option allows private applicators and fertilizer certificate holders due for training by March 31, 2020 and commercial applicators due for training by September 30, 2020 to meet their continuing education requirements. The cost for online training is $35 for private applicators and $10 for fertilizer certification. The price per credit hour for commercial applicators is $15. If you don’t know your license number, please call ODA at 614-728-6987, choose option 1.

Applicators are still required to meet their recertification requirements to renew licenses and certifications.  As a result of HB 197, applicators have until 90 days after the emergency is over or December 1, whichever comes first, to complete their requirements.  Recertification status can be checked online here. Applicators must also submit a completed renewal application and pay an additional fee to the ODA for licensure.

For additional information regarding online recertification, please contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture at 614-728-6987, and press 1 for licensing recertification or the OSU Pesticide Safety Education Program at 614-292-4070.

Commercial applicators must earn at least five recertification credit hours every three years, and Private applicators must earn at least three recertification credit hours every three years. One hour (60 minutes) must be earned by taking one or more core education classes, one half-hour (30 minutes) of education in each category on the license, and the remaining time requirement can be met by attending classes in any category.

Manure Management

Manure management is an important aspect of livestock farming in Ohio. Livestock operations should have a site specific plan, called a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMPs) that includes the best practices and strategies to manage the collection, storage and land application of manure. Many livestock farmers collect and store manure over a period of time before applying it to a field. A CNMP recommends the size of manure storage structure based on the number of livestock, the desired frequency of field application, and environmental conditions, such as frozen ground. The producer should be able to store manure during the times of the year that have an increased risk of nutrient loss, such as the winter months when the ground is frozen. Manure is fertilizer because it contains nutrients vital for plant growth. When manure is spread on a field with growing plants the nutrients in the manure become available to the plant. Sampling the soil in the field will let a producer know how much of a nutrient is already in the soil before applying manure. There is a greater risk of nutrients will leave the field in water that runs off the surface or drains into field tile if the soil contains more nutrients than the plants need. Farms that import manure to spread on fields should also have a nutrient management plan. Nutrient management plans for these farms document practices on the fields receiving manure and amount of nutrients already in the soil.

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