Summer 2007

Iowa Open Feedlot Livestock Producers Still Need Nutrient Management Plans by July 31


By Karen Grimes, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Open feedlotDespite a federal delay, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has confirmed that Iowa livestock and poultry producers who are required to submit nutrient management plans must meet the state deadline of July 31, 2007.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on May 4 a plan to delay the federal deadline for requiring nutrient management plans, moving the due date to Feb. 27, 2009. However, this has little impact on Iowa open feedlot producers because of state law which requires Iowa producers to submit the plans to the IDNR by July 31, 2007.

A nutrient management plan (NMP) is required for open feedlots that have or exceed 1,000 animal units. That is equal or more than 1,000 beef cattle, 700 mature dairy cattle or 2,500 finishing hogs.

A few other producers need a nutrient management plan, but only if they are required to have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

Nutrient management plans (NMPs), are similar to the manure management plans that confinement producers must have. Preparing the plan calls for calculating how much manure is produced, the nutrient content of that manure, the appropriate application rates and the acres of crop fields needed to land apply the manure.

Producers must also use the phosphorus or P Index to develop their nutrient management plans, something many open feedlot producers probably haven’t done. The P Index is used to analyze several factors when determining how much phosphorus can be land applied. These factors include the erodibility of the crop field, the concentration of phosphorus that is already present in the field and the distance from the nearest stream.

The plans must be approved by the IDNR before removing or land-applying any manure or feedlot nutrients after July 31. Producers can find a form for the plan (IDNR form 542-2021) on the IDNR Web site at or by calling their nearest IDNR field office.

The IDNR notified about 150 open feedlot producers in May that they needed a plan and they needed to provide public notice of that plan. Producers should make sure that the NMP is on file in the regional DNR field office before publishing the notice The public has 30 days after the date of publication to review and make comments on the plan. Producers need to submit a clipping of the published notice to the IDNR before their plan can be approved.

Additional information can be found on the DNR Web site at, including specifics for producers and for the general public.  Or, producers can go directly to the Public Notice form (IDNR form 542-1553) at and use it when submitting the public notice to a paper in the area where the manure is stored or land applied. Producers who use the Public Notice form should be able to meet state requirements. The IDNR developed the form after a couple of producers prepared plans and published a public notice that did not have all the required elements. Unfortunately they had to redo the public notice.

Plans info Producers seeking assistance in the development of nutrient management plans IDNR forms for animal feeding operations More forms, including recordkeeping forms, are available on the Iowa Manure Management Action Group (IMMAG) Web page. These forms can be found at:  Use of these specific forms is not required by the IDNR, but the information must be recorded and reported as required by the NPDES permit.

Producers can talk to the IDNR’s environmental specialists who can answer questions about the form and the requirements. The IDNR has environmental field offices in the following areas:

  • Northeast Iowa, Manchester, (563) 927-2640.
  • North central Iowa, Mason City, (641) 424-4073.
  • Northwest Iowa, Spencer, (712) 262-4177.
  • Southwest Iowa, Atlantic, (712) 243-1934.
  • South central Iowa, Des Moines, (515) 725-0268.
  • Southeast Iowa, Washington, (319) 653-2135.

Producers who have developed a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) to secure federal cost-share can submit that plan to the IDNR as a substitute for the NMP. However, it must meet all the nutrient management plan requirements to be approved by the IDNR. 

Perhaps most important, producers need to follow the plan once it is developed. That includes applying manure at agronomic rates, updating the plan when conditions warrant a change and keeping records of manure application. 


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