The Application Risk Advisory System is web‑based and provides alerts when conditions are favorable for nutrient loss to water, based on soil conditions and National Weather Service forecast models. This system enables farmers and commercial applicators to avoid applications of fertilizer and manure during conditions when the potential for loss to surface water is high.
Funding supports an Irrigation Specialist to develop guidance and provide education on irrigation and nitrogen best management practices (BMPs). In this position, Dr. Vasu Sharma provides direct support to irrigators on issues of irrigation scheduling and soil water monitoring. She is collaborating on the development of new irrigation scheduling tools that help irrigators manage water and nitrogen resources more precisely. These tools help reduce nitrogen leaching losses in irrigated cropping systems.
The MDA used Clean Water Fund dollars to enhance manure applicator training and education. Funding was used to improve training manuals for site managers and develop curriculum and online certification training for Commercial Animal Waste Technicians (manure applicators).
The Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan (NFMP) recognizes that existing best management practices (BMPs) may not adequately protect the groundwater from nitrate contamination in some geologic sensitive areas. The NFMP introduces the concept of alternative management tools (AMTs), which are advanced practices that may be required to protect groundwater or mitigate groundwater contamination.
The Minnesota Nutrient Management Initiative (NMI) was developed to help farmers and crop advisers evaluate management decisions using the farmer's actual field conditions.Participating farmers work with a crop adviser to set up field trials. After completing plot harvest and submitting the required forms, farmers and crop advisers are reimbursed for their time and will receive a summary and analysis of their results.
The objective of the project is to demonstrate controlled drainage and saturated buffers as flood mitigation practices as well as their water quality and quantity benefits. The project is intended to set a compelling example to increase the acceptance and adoption of drainage water management practices in the Red River Valley.Surface and subsurface runoff will be monitored, and water samples will be collected and analyzed for nitrate-nitrogen. Installations were completed in 2015-2016.
Nitrate-nitrogen (nitrate) is one of the contaminants of greatest concern for groundwater in Minnesota. This funding is being used for activities that help identify the severity and magnitude of nitrate contamination and implement practices at the local level to reduce nitrate in groundwater. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is working with many local partners and passing funding through to local government units (counties, cities, soil and water conservation districts) to address this concern.
The MDA's technical assistance helps ensure that current and accurate scientific information is made available and used to address water quality concerns in agricultural areas of Minnesota. This funding has been used to evaluate the effectiveness of conservation practices, share information from research and demonstration sites and enhance outreach and education to the agricultural community and local government partners.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has designed a Township Testing Program to determine current nitrate-nitrogen concentrations in private wells on a township scale. The MDA has identified townships throughout the state that are vulnerable to groundwater contamination (because of local geology or shallow groundwater) and have significant row crop production. These are the counties that will be prioritized for Township Testing.