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Competency Area 6: Nutrient Management and Planning

PO 48. Define Mass Nutrient Balance and describe why there is a net excess Mass Nutrient Balance on many dairy and livestock farms.

A Mass Nutrient Balance can be described as the difference between total amount of nutrients imported onto the farm and nutrients exported via milk, meat, crops, manure, etc.  Zero or negative balances are not sustainable, as all biologic systems have inherent losses.  Due to differences in NPK ratios of manure versus crop NPK needs, it is difficult to achieve acceptable balances simultaneously on dairy and livestock farms; balancing field applications for N with manure will increase soil P and K over time.