On-farm nutrient budgets in organic cropping systems: A tool for soil fertility management

An assessment of the quantity of nutrients entering, leaving and remaining on a farm is the starting point for understanding nutrient cycling. When nutrient flows are documented for the entire rotation cycle, the resulting net balances can be used as a tool to help with soil management decisions and in the interpretation of soil tests.

The long-term goal of this research is to develop tools that can be used by farmers to construct nutrient budgets for N, P and K in organic cash grain and vegetable production systems. 
Researchers interviewed farmers to document their soil fertility management practices and sampled soil amendments and vegetable and grain crops at harvest for nutrient analysis, to assess the quantities of nutrients entering and leaving the farm. A series of databases were developed that can be used to support nutrient management decisions.