15.20.08.05

.05 Nutrient Management — Required Plan Recommendations.

A. A certified nutrient management consultant or certified farm operator shall address all of the elements and use the criteria described in §§B—I of this regulation to determine recommendations in a nutrient management plan. A consultant's or certified farm operator's recommendations shall be consistent with the Department technical standards and criteria as provided in the Maryland Nutrient Management Manual, Sections I, II, and III.

B. Nutrient Rates.

(1) Nutrient rates of the primary nutrients shall be calculated for plant growth requirements of the crop.

(2) Plant growth requirements shall be based on one of the following:

(a) University of Maryland Plant or Crop Nutrient Recommendations, as provided in the Maryland Nutrient Management Manual, Section I-B; or

(b) Alternative standards, as provided in scientifically validated data for the development of a nutrient management plan acceptable to the Department.

(3) A consultant or certified farm operator may recommend the use of lime, secondary nutrients, or micronutrients needed for optimal plant growth.

(4) A consultant or certified farm operator may recommend nutrient rates that deviate from University of Maryland Plant or Crop Nutrient Recommendations and alternative standards provided in the Maryland Nutrient Management Manual, Section I-B, for application on farm test plots with prior approval from the Department.

(5) A consultant or certified farm operator may recommend nutrient rates based on a single variety tissue sample when used in conjunction with a soil sample.

C. Expected Crop Yield or Production Goal.

(1) The calculation of expected crop yield shall be based upon one of the following:

(a) An average of the 3 highest-yielding years for the crop out of the latest consecutive 5-year cropping sequence; or

(b) If yield information exists for more than 5 years for a given field or management unit, crop yield calculations may be based on the average of 60 percent of the highest-yielding years for all consecutive years that crop yield information is available.

(2) If field or management unit-specific yield or plant production goal information is unavailable or unrepresentative due to the inclusion of new seed varieties, irrigation, or new technologies, a consultant or certified farm operator shall use one of the following:

(a) Any soil productivity information;

(b) The average yield based upon an average of the 3 highest-yielding years for the crop out of the latest consecutive 5-year cropping sequence from nearby fields or management units with similar soil type and management conditions; or

(c) Any data acceptable to the Department.

(3) A consultant shall document what information was used as the basis for determining expected yield goal as part of the consultant's record-keeping requirements.

D. Soil Analysis Results.

(1) Soil analysis results for each field or management unit shall be based on standard soil sampling and analysis methods acceptable to the Department.

(2) Soil Samples. Variations from the standard sampling process shall be documented by the consultant or certified farm operator and may include:

(a) Soil samples collected from larger fields or acreage with uniform characteristics, including soil types, moisture, or fertility management history; crop rotations may be sampled as one management unit;

(b) Soil samples from fields, such as those common to strip cropping, which may be combined if the soils, previous cropping history, and soil fertility management are similar; and

(c) Any specialized production unit which may warrant smaller sampling units.

(3) Soil analysis results for a plan are valid for 3 years, except if the following conditions exist and are documented by the consultant or certified farm operator:

(a) A less frequent soil analysis is required to implement a management system based on new technologies;

(b) The management system does not require any nutrient application; or

(c) The management system requires nutrient application at a frequency less than once every 3 years.

(4) A recommendation for more than one planting season or crop may be made if anticipated soil fertility changes from the following are documented:

(a) Previous and future crop rotations; and

(b) Residual soil nutrients and nutrients used for previous crops.

E. Determination of Limiting Nutrient.

(1) A consultant or certified farm operator shall:

(a) Use the criteria in this section to determine which nutrient is the limiting factor in the application of nutrients; and

(b) Recommend subsequent nutrient management strategies consistent with this section.

(2) Soil fertility shall be used as an indicator of whether nutrient recommendations should be adjusted to address potential nutrient pollution problems.

(3) If the soil sample analysis results show a phosphorus fertility index value (FIV) of less than 150, nutrient recommendations may be based on nitrogen plant needs as the limiting factor in accordance with the recommendations described in the Maryland Nutrient Management Manual, Section 1-B.

(4) Phosphorus Criteria for Tier A Operations.

(a) Except for nutrient management plans developed in accordance with §E(4)(e) of this regulation, the certified consultant shall:

(i) Provide the operator information outlining the changes in the management of the operation that will be required when the Phosphorus Management Tool becomes effective;

(ii) Calculate the Average Soil Phosphorus Fertility Index Value for the operation; and

(iii) Report the Average Soil Phosphorus Fertility Index Value for the operation to the Department on a form provided by the Department not later than September 1, 2016.

(b) Nutrient management plans implemented before July 1, 2019 shall:

(i) Be developed using both the Phosphorus Site Index and the Phosphorus Management Tool, as provided in the Maryland Nutrient Management Manual, Section II-C; and

(ii) Use the Phosphorus Site Index set forth in Regulation .06 of this chapter to determine phosphorus applications.

(c) Nutrient management plans implemented between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 shall use the Phosphorus Transition Management Phase I set forth in Regulation .07 of this chapter to determine phosphorus applications.

(d) Unless the transition schedule is adjusted as provided under this paragraph, nutrient management plans implemented between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 shall use the Phosphorus Transition Management Phase II set forth in Regulation .08 of this chapter to determine phosphorus applications. Before January 1, 2020, the Department, in consultation with the Phosphorus Management Tool Transition Advisory Committee, shall conduct an evaluation of the existing markets for animal manures, participation in and additional capacity of the Manure Transport Program, the capacity of existing infrastructure for manure transportation, handling and land application, the availability of public and private sector resources, and the status and capacity of alternative uses to utilize animal manures. The evaluation shall be comprehensive in scope, considering all available, relevant information to address current major animal agriculture sectors in the State with the objective of advancing implementation of the next level of management to the maximum extent practicable. If the results of this evaluation indicate insufficient capacity to support the additional volume of animal manure expected to be created when operations are required to determine phosphorus applications under Transition Management Phase II:

(i) Transition Management Phase I shall continue to be used to determine phosphorus applications for 1 additional year, through June 30, 2021;

(ii) The transition to Transition Management Phase II, as provided in this section, shall be implemented 1 year later, beginning July 1, 2021; and

(iii) The subsequent schedule to transition to the Phosphorus Management Tool, as provided in §E(4)(e) of this regulation, likewise shall be implemented 1 year later, beginning July 1, 2022.

(e) Unless the transition schedule is adjusted as provided under either §E(4)(d) of this regulation or this paragraph, nutrient management plans implemented after July 1, 2021 shall use the Phosphorus Management Tool set forth in Regulation .09 of this chapter to determine phosphorus applications. Before January 1, 2021 or, alternatively, January 1, 2022, if the transition schedule has been adjusted under §E(4)(d) of this regulation, the Department, in consultation with the Phosphorus Management Tool Transition Advisory Committee, shall conduct an evaluation of the existing markets for animal manures, participation in and additional capacity of the Manure Transport Program, the capacity of existing infrastructure for manure transportation, handling and land application, the availability of public and private sector resources, and the status and capacity of alternative uses to utilize animal manures. The evaluation shall be comprehensive in scope, considering all available, relevant information to address current major animal agriculture sectors in the State with the objective of advancing implementation of the next level of management to the maximum extent practicable. If the results of this evaluation indicate insufficient capacity to support the additional volume of animal manure expected to be created when operations are required to determine phosphorus applications under the Phosphorus Management Tool:

(i) Transition Management Phase II shall continue to be used to determine phosphorus applications for 1 additional year, through June 30, 2022 or, alternatively, June 30, 2023, if the schedule has also been adjusted under §E(4)(d) of this regulation;

(ii) The Phosphorus Management Tool shall be used to determine phosphorus applications after June 30, 2022 or, alternatively, after June 30, 2023, if the schedule has also been adjusted under §E(4)(d) of this regulation.

(5) Phosphorus Criteria for Tier B Operations.

(a) Except for nutrient management plans developed in accordance with §E(5)(e) of this regulation, the certified consultant shall:

(i) Provide the operator information outlining the changes in the management of the operation that shall be required when the Phosphorus Management Tool becomes effective;

(ii) Calculate the Average Soil Phosphorus Fertility Index Value for the operation; and

(iii) Report the Average Soil Phosphorus Fertility Index Value for the operation to the Department on a form provided by the Department not later than September 1, 2016.

(b) Nutrient management plans developed for implementation before July 1, 2018 shall:

(i) Be developed using both the Phosphorus Site Index and the Phosphorus Management Tool, as provided in the Maryland Nutrient Management Manual, Section II-C; and

(ii) Use the Phosphorus Site Index set forth in Regulation .06 of this chapter to determine phosphorus applications.

(c) Nutrient management plans implemented between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019 shall use the Phosphorus Transition Management Phase I set forth in Regulation .07 of this chapter to determine phosphorus applications.

(d) Unless the schedule is adjusted as provided under this paragraph, nutrient management plans implemented between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2021 shall use the Phosphorus Transition Management Phase II set forth in Regulation .08 of this chapter to determine phosphorus applications. Before January 1, 2019, the Department, in consultation with the Phosphorus Management Tool Transition Advisory Committee, shall conduct an evaluation of the existing markets for animal manures, participation in and additional capacity of the Manure Transport Program, the capacity of existing infrastructure for manure transportation, handling and land application, the availability of public and private sector resources, and the status and capacity of alternative uses to utilize animal manures. The evaluation shall be comprehensive in scope, considering all available, relevant information to address current major animal agriculture sectors in the State with the objective of advancing implementation of the next level of management to the maximum extent practicable. If the results of this evaluation indicate insufficient capacity to support the additional volume of animal manure expected to be created when operations are required to determine phosphorus applications under Transition Management Phase II:

(i) Transition Management Phase I shall continue to be used to determine phosphorus applications for 1 additional year, through June 30, 2020;

(ii) The transition to Transition Management Phase II, as provided in this section, shall be implemented 1 year later, beginning July 1, 2020; and

(iii) The subsequent schedule to transition to the Phosphorus Management Tool, as provided in §E(5)(d) of this regulation, shall be implemented 2 years later, beginning July 1, 2022.

(e) Unless the transition schedule is adjusted as provided under either §E(5)(d) of this regulation or this paragraph, nutrient management plans implemented after July 1, 2021 shall use the Phosphorus Management Tool set forth in Regulation .09 of this chapter to determine phosphorus applications. Before January 1, 2021 or, alternatively, January 1, 2022, if the transition schedule has been adjusted under §E(5)(d) of this regulation, the Department, in consultation with the Phosphorus Management Tool Transition Advisory Committee, shall conduct an evaluation of the existing markets for animal manures, participation in and additional capacity of the Manure Transport Program, the capacity of existing infrastructure for manure transportation, handling and land application, the availability of public and private sector resources, and the status and capacity of alternative uses to utilize animal manures. The evaluation shall be comprehensive in scope, considering all available, relevant information to address current major animal agriculture sectors in the State with the objective of advancing implementation of the next level of management to the maximum extent practicable. If the results of this evaluation indicate insufficient capacity to support the additional volume of animal manure expected to be created when operations are required to determine phosphorus applications under the Phosphorus Management Tool:

(i) Transition Management Phase II shall continue to be used to determine phosphorus applications for 1 additional year, through June 30, 2022 or, alternatively, June 30, 2023, if the schedule has also been adjusted under §E(5)(d) of this regulation; and

(ii) The Phosphorus Management Tool shall be used to determine phosphorus applications after June 30, 2022 or, alternatively, after June 30, 2023, if the schedule has also been adjusted under §E(5)(d) of this regulation.

(6) Phosphorus Criteria for Tier C Operations.

(a) Except for nutrient management plans developed in accordance with §E(6)(e) of this regulation, the certified consultant shall:

(i) Provide the operator information outlining the changes in the management of the operation that will be required when the Phosphorus Management Tool becomes effective;

(ii) Calculate the Average Soil Phosphorus Fertility Index Value for the operation; and

(iii) Report the Average Soil Phosphorus Fertility Index Value for the operation to the Department on a form provided by the Department not later than September 1, 2016.

(b) Nutrient management plans implemented prior to July 1, 2017 shall:

(i) Be developed using both the Phosphorus Site Index and the Phosphorus Management Tool, as provided in the Maryland Nutrient Management Manual, Section II-C; and

(ii) Use the Phosphorus Site Index set forth in Regulation .06 of this chapter to determine phosphorus applications.

(c) Nutrient management plans implemented between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2019 shall use the Phosphorus Transition Management Phase 1 set forth in Regulation .07 of this chapter to determine phosphorus applications.

(d) Unless the schedule is adjusted as provided under this paragraph, nutrient management plans implemented between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2021 shall use the Phosphorus Transition Management Phase II set forth in Regulation .08 of this chapter to determine phosphorus applications. Before January 1, 2019, the Department, in consultation with the Phosphorus Management Tool Transition Advisory Committee, shall conduct an evaluation of the existing markets for animal manures, participation in and additional capacity of the Manure Transport Program, the capacity of existing infrastructure for manure transportation, handling and land application, the availability of public and private sector resources, and the status and capacity of alternative uses to utilize animal manures. The evaluation shall be comprehensive in scope, considering all available, relevant information to address current major animal agriculture sectors in the State with the objective of advancing implementation of the next level of management to the maximum extent practicable. If the results of this evaluation indicate insufficient capacity to support the additional volume of animal manure expected to be created when operations are required to determine phosphorus applications under Transition Management Phase II:

(i) Transition Management Phase I shall continue to be used to determine phosphorus applications for 1 additional year, through June 30, 2020;

(ii) The transition to Transition Management Phase II, as provided in this section, shall be implemented 1 year later, beginning July 1, 2020; and

(iii) The subsequent schedule to transition to the Phosphorus Management Tool, as provided in §E(6)(e) of this regulation, shall be implemented 2 years later, beginning July 1, 2022.

(e) Unless the transition schedule is adjusted, as provided under either §E(6)(d) of this regulation or this paragraph, nutrient management plans implemented after July 1, 2021 shall use the Phosphorus Management Tool set forth in Regulation .09 of this chapter to determine phosphorus applications. Before January 1, 2021 or, alternatively, January 1, 2022, if the transition schedule has been adjusted under §E(6)(d) of this regulation, the Department, in consultation with the Phosphorus Management Tool Transition Advisory Committee, shall conduct an evaluation of the existing markets for animal manures, participation in and additional capacity of the Manure Transport Program, the capacity of existing infrastructure for manure transportation, handling and land application, the availability of public and private sector resources, and the status and capacity of alternative uses to utilize animal manures. The evaluation shall be comprehensive in scope, considering all available, relevant information to address current major animal agriculture sectors in the State with the objective of advancing implementation of the next level of management to the maximum extent practicable. If the results of this evaluation indicate insufficient capacity to support the additional volume of animal manure expected to be created when operations are required to determine phosphorus applications under the Phosphorus Management Tool:

(i) Transition Management Phase II shall continue to be used to determine phosphorus applications for 1 additional year, through June 30, 2022 or, alternatively, June 30, 2023, if the schedule has also been adjusted under §E(6)(d), of this regulation;

(ii) The Phosphorus Management Tool shall be used to determine phosphorus applications after June 30, 2022 or, alternatively, after June 30, 2023, if the schedule has also been adjusted under §E(6)(d) of this regulation.

F. Natural Organic Fertilizer.

(1) An agricultural operator who uses natural organic fertilizer shall determine its nutrient value as specified in this section.

(2) Test results for natural organic fertilizer shall be determined by an operator, consultant, or certified farm operator using standard sampling and analysis methods acceptable to the Department.

(3) The consultant or operator shall conduct animal manure or waste analysis as close to application time as possible, or a consistent baseline for nutrient content may be established and used from analysis results taken at least twice a year until a uniform value is confirmed, and then for every second year thereafter to verify its consistency. If significant changes occur, including feed, management, animals, or storage, a new analysis for nutrient content shall be determined by the consultant or operator for the new manure.

(4) Biosolids analysis shall be conducted according to COMAR 26.04.06.09A(13)(d) as close to nutrient application time as possible, but at least once a year. If changes occur in a sewage treatment facility, or routine biosolids analysis reveals a significant change in available nutrient content during the permit period, nutrient application rates shall be adjusted accordingly by the consultant, or certified farm operator, or the operator.

(5) Analysis of any other natural organic fertilizer or organic materials shall be conducted by the operator as close to nutrient application time as possible, but at least once a year.

(6) Calculations for nutrient content from natural organic fertilizer shall consider mineralization rates and plant availability rates for different forms and sources of organic nutrients. Mineralization of organic nitrogen from the 2 previous years of natural organic fertilizer applications shall be accounted for in the plan.

G. Application Method for Nutrients. A consultant or certified farm operator shall consider the following when making recommendations on nutrient application methods in a plan:

(1) Nutrient application shall be made to minimize nitrogen and phosphorus losses to waters and nitrogen volatilization losses to the atmosphere;

(2) Techniques to achieve accurate and uniform application of nutrients shall be recommended by the consultant or certified farm operator and shall be used by the operator;

(3) Split application of nitrogen on soils identified as having a high leaching potential;

(4) Measures to minimize or control nutrient movement to sensitive areas, including natural or existing wetlands, sinkholes, and steep slopes; and

(5) Recommendations shall ensure efficient application of fertilizers and may include crop rotation, agronomic practices, tillage, and cover crop management.

H. Timing of Nutrient Application. Timing for nutrient applications, as recommended by a consultant or certified farm operator and conducted by an operator, shall:

(1) Be as close to plant nutrient uptake periods as possible;

(2) Maximize plant utilization efficiency and minimize the potential for nutrient movement; and

(3) Be consistent with the guidelines contained in the Maryland Nutrient Management Manual, Section I-D.

I. Manure Management. When an agricultural operation either produces animals or integrates animal manure use with crop production, a consultant or certified farm operator shall:

(1) Take into account the current manure management measures being used to store, stockpile, and handle animal manure and waste nutrients associated with animal production in order to make appropriate recommendations for application rates, timing, and methods;

(2) Evaluate existing conditions and procedures and advise the operator when manure management changes, such as improved stockpiling or storage facilities, would minimize the potential for nutrient loss or runoff or improve nutrient use efficiency and proper timing of manure utilization; and

(3) Take into account animal manure or waste nutrients associated with animal production and all other sources of nutrients when making recommendations.