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spartan nutrient cycle card

October 2006

Spartan Nutrient Cycle Card

Jacob McCarthy
Dept. of Animal Science

In July, 2006, the Dairy Team at Michigan State University unveiled the Spartan Nutrient Cycle Card, a detail of the flow and recycling of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium through a dairy farm. Making sure the nutrients in manure remain in the rootzone is an integral part of maximizing nutrient use. In addition, improper storage and handling of manure have direct financial and environmental implications. The Spartan Nutrient Cycle Card was developed to assist producers in balancing the flow of nutrient imports and exports across farm boundaries to minimize nutrient loss and maximize efficient nutrient use.

About the Card

The Spartan Nutrient Cycle Card is printed on a heavy card stock the size of sheet of paper and laminated to withstand the demands of on-farm use. The front of the card illustrates the flow of nutrients within the farm and across farm boundaries. An example of nutrient flow within the farm is phosphorus moving from rations to animals upon consumption. Examples of nutrients moving across farm boundaries are the purchase of commercial fertilizer or loss of nutrients to groundwater in land-applying manure. The Spartan Nutrient Cycle Card identifies four critical control points at which specific steps can be taken to maximize nutrient use. On the reverse side of the card is a checklist of practices that can be employed at each critical control point to optimize use of nutrients within the farm nutrient cycle.

The Spartan Nutrient Cycle Card can be a valuable resource for on-farm reference as it clearly illustrates the movement of nutrients between farm units and across farm boundaries. By employing the practices in the checklist financial gains on the farm can be realized and impact to surrounding environment minimized. A hole is punched in the top left corner of the card so that it may be hung from a nail for frequent reference.

Getting the Card

Within the next several months the Spartan Nutrient Cycle card will be distributed to every dairy producer in Michigan. It also can be viewed and printed electronically— just visit <http://www.mdr.msu.edu/nutrientcycle>. To specifically request a card or to ask questions regarding the card, contact MDR at mdr@msu.edu or 517-353-4570.





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