Skip to main content

Nutrient Management Program

Nutrient Management Program

Nutrient Management Research

  • Overview

    Florida Legislature: HB 5001, SB 1000 (2022) and SB 2500 (2023)

    In the 2022 Florida legislative session, HB 5001, Specific Appropriation 1480A ($8.76 million) was approved for nutrient management research and SB 1000 was approved to investigate site-specific nutrient application rates. In the 2023 Florida legislative session, SB 2500, Specific Appropriation 1510A ($6.2 million) was approved to continue funding nutrient management research.

    This legislation directs the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) to study the appropriate rate for applying fertilizer on tomatoes, potatoes, citrus, corn, green beans, and any other crop identified by UF/IFAS as needing further research for normal and economical crop production. This research will result in recommendations on best management practices for supplying fertilizer to the crop to achieve maximum yield and quality goals of growers while minimizing nutrient inefficiencies to the environment. In addition, UF/IFAS will analyze the use of site-specific nutrient management will develop a research plan and interim recommendations for implementation of site-specific nutrient management.

    Research reports

    Quarterly reports are due to FDACS-AES, and status reports must be submitted biannually to the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the chair of the House Appropriations Committee. The reports must include progress made to date, planned and actual completion dates, and planned and actual costs incurred.”

    Description Due Date
    FY 2022-23 First Quarter Report October 30, 2022
    FY 2022-23 Second Quarter Report January 31, 2023
    FY 2022-23 Third Quarter Report April 30, 2023
    FY 2022-23 Fourth Quarter Report August 15, 2023
    FY 2023-24 First Quarter Report October 30, 2023
    FY 2023-24 Second Quarter Report January 31, 2024


  • Research
  • Faculty - Project Leaders





    Haimanote Bayabil (Haime)

    TREC – Homestead

    (786) 217-9253

    Zachary Brym

    TREC – Homestead

    (786) 217-9238

    Christian Christensen

    Hastings Agricultural Extension Center

    (904) 692-4944

    Robert C. Hochmuth

    NFREC - Live Oak

    (386) 219-4255

    Davie Kadyampakeni  

    CREC – Lake Alfred

    (863) 956-8843

    A. J. Lindsey

    Env Hort - Gainesville

    (352) 273-4591

    Guodong (David) Liu

    Hort Sci - Gainesville

    (352) 273-4814

    Emma Matcham

    Agronomy - Gainesville

    (352) 392-1811

    Rao Mylavarapu

    SWES - Gainesville

    (352) 294-3113

    Vimala Nair

    SWES - Gainesville

    (352) 294-3137

    Thomas Obreza

    SWES - Gainesville

    (352) 294-1761

    Ali Sarkhosh

    Hort Sci - Gainesville

    (352) 273-4788

    Muhammad Shahid

    NFREC – Quincy

    (850) 875-7150

    Lakesh Sharma

    SWES - Gainesville

    (352) 294-3167

    Sanjay Shukla

    SWFREC - Immokalee

    (239) 658-3425

    Maria Silveira

    RCREC - Ona

    (863) 735-1314 ext. 209

    Hardeep Singh

    WFREC – Jay

    (850) 983-7104

    Joao Vendramini

    RCREC – Ona

    (863) 735-1314 ext 205

    Jeff Williamson

    Hort Sci - Gainesville

    (352) 273-4823

    Lincoln Zotarelli


    (352) 273-4949


  • Resources
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the UF/IFAS Nutrient Management Program?

    UF/IFAS is conducting research into the application of nutrients (fertilizers) to a variety of Florida crops to update their standard recommendations for fertilizer rates, sources, placement, timing, and water management. These recommendations form the basis of Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) that Florida growers use to in their nutrient management plans.
    During the 2022 Florida legislative session, $8.75 million in funding was allocated for UF/IFAS to conduct research and update fertilizer recommendations (SB 1000 and HB 5001). During the 2023 session, the legislature appropriated an additional $6.2 million to continue the work. This is an unprecedented commitment to update fertilizer recommendations in the state.

    The UF/IFAS Nutrient Management Program website is designed to be a one-stop shop for the latest information about UF/IFAS nutrient management research, extension, and recommendations.

    Why is UF/IFAS updating its nutrient recommendations?

    In many cases, the recommendations that form the basis of BMPs are based on research that is decades old. Soil, weather, and crop management conditions have changed dramatically during that period, as well as our understanding of the environmental impacts of nutrients on soil and water quality. UF/IFAS is continually conducting research in nutrient applications—the Florida legislature just gave it a major boost to bring BMPs in line with today’s conditions.

    Growers also need recommendations that are specific to the conditions and soil types where they grow their crops. The state legislature has tasked UF/IFAS with developing site-specific recommendations.

    What research projects are underway?

    State fiscal year 2023-24 will see 14 research projects continued from the previous year and 5 new projects tied to the legislative funding. Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus are the main nutrients being studied for their effects on crop yield and quality when applied at various rates on various sites under grower conditions. The crops under initial study are potatoes, tomatoes, citrus, grain corn, and green beans—crops that are especially important to Florida’s agricultural economy. In addition, cotton, industrial hemp, forage grass, watermelon, peaches, blueberries, lettuce, and sod are also part of the study. Many of these research projects are taking place on commercial farms so growers can learn as studies progress.

    What is the process for updating recommendations?

    Recommendations are developed by the UF/IFAS faculty who do the research. New or updated recommendations are reviewed by the UF/IFAS Plant Nutrient Oversight Committee (PNOC). Committee membership includes the Deans for Research and Extension (co-chairs) plus a panel of IFAS administrators, scientists, and extension faculty. Tom Obreza is the Chief Operating Officer of PNOC. The committee's role is to provide standing authority to define and maintain the internal consistency and scientific integrity of IFAS nutrient management recommendations for agricultural and horticultural crops. Research faculty approach PNOC with their research results and present their evidence for a new or interim/provisional recommendation. The committee reviews the research and approves the recommendation or calls for further study.

    What are provisional recommendations?

    A provisional recommendation is based on recent research and is approved by PNOC for a limited time. The state funding for this study (SB 1000) stipulates that UF/IFAS should provide interim recommendations for nutrient management. The timing of recommendations is critical for growers. If there are changes to soil test interpretations or recommended fertilizer rates, growers need to know about them before planting season.

    How long do provisional recommendations last?

    All provisional recommendations are stamped with the date they were released. Provisional recommendations for each crop are meant to be in effect until the end of that crop’s growing season, after which they are either renewed, replaced by new recommendations, or eliminated. If a new recommendation is approved by PNOC, it will supersede the provisional recommendation.

    What are Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs)?

    Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) are practical measures that producers can take to reduce the amount of nutrients, pesticides, animal waste, and other pollutants entering Florida's water resources. They are designed to minimize water quality impacts while maintaining agricultural production. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has adopted BMPs for most commodities in the state. Each BMP manual covers key aspects of water quality and water conservation. Typical practices include:

    • Nutrient management to determine nutrient needs and sources as well as manage nutrient applications (including manure) to minimize impacts to water resources.
    • Irrigation management to address the method and scheduling of irrigation to reduce water and nutrient losses to the environment.
    • Water resource protection using buffers, setbacks, and swales to reduce or prevent the transport of sediments and nutrients from production areas to waterbodies.

    Why should growers use BMPs?

    • Implementing (and maintaining) verified FDACS-adopted BMPs provides a presumption of compliance with state water quality standards for the pollutants addressed by the BMPs.
    • Some BMPs can help growers operate more efficiently and reduce costs while helping protect the environment.
    • Producers who implement FDACS-adopted BMPs might satisfy some water management district (WMD) permitting requirements. Growers should check with their WMD.
    • With some exceptions, the Florida Right to Farm Act prohibits local governments from regulating an agricultural activity that is addressed through rule-adopted BMPs that producers are implementing.
    • The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is developing Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) to meet adopted water quality targets called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). Where FDEP adopts a BMAP that includes agriculture, producers must either implement FDACS-adopted BMPs or conduct monitoring (prescribed by FDEP or the water management district) to show they are not violating water quality standards. This type of monitoring is very expensive.

    How do growers participate in BMPs?

    • Schedule a meeting with an FDACS BMP team member, who will provide a BMP manual and other BMP-related information.
    • Participate with the coordinator in an assessment of an operation to determine applicable BMPs.
    • Fill out a BMP checklist and sign the Notice of Intent (NOI) to implement the BMPs.
    • Keep a record of the checklist and signed NOI.
    • Implement and maintain the applicable BMPs and keep adequate records to maintain a presumption of compliance with state water quality standards.