Introducing the Phosphorus Management Tool Maryland's Phosphorus Management Tool (PMT) regulations provide a multi-year process for farmers to transition from the Phosphorus Site Index to the PMT, an updated tool that can identify areas where there is a high risk for phosphorus runoff and guide the use of effective management practices in soils that are already saturated.
When fully implemented, the regulations are expected to help
Maryland meet phosphorus reduction targets outlined in its Watershed Implementation Plan to protect and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
Are All Farmers Required to Use the PMT?Use of the PMT only
applies to farm fields with high soil phosphorus levels identified by a Fertility
Index Value (FIV) of 150 or greater on soil test results. Soils with high
phosphorus levels are typically found on farms that have used manure or poultry
litter as a crop nutrient over an extended period of time.
If a farm field
scores less than 150 FIV, the farmer may apply phosphorus to the land based on the farm's nutrient management plan and current University of Maryland recommendations.
How Does the PMT Work?Farmers with soil FIV levels of 150 or
greater are required to begin using the PMT to identify
fields at risk for phosphorus loss. Future manure applications could be
limited on fields with high soil phosphorus levels and farmers will be
required to install best management practices to prevent the additional
buildup of phosphorus in soils that are already saturated.
How Many Farmers Are Affected? To date, soil phosphorus data has been compiled for 1,120,668 acres of regulated farmland. Approximately 20 percent of the state's farm fields have soil phosphorus levels that will require use of the PMT.
What is the Time Frame for Implementation?To give farmers time to make needed
adjustments to their operations, Maryland’s PMT regulations
are being phased with full implementation by July 1, 2021.
What Are Tier Groups?Tier groups have been established for farmland required to transition to the PMT based on average soil phosphorus levels. The tier group designation determines how long a farmer has to transition to the PMT. Farms with a FIV of 500 or greater have been banned from receiving additional phosphorus applications since 2015.
PMT Transition Advisory CommitteeThe Phosphorus Management Tool Transition Advisory Committee provides guidance for the program. It was established in 2015 and is chaired by the Maryland Secretary of Agriculture.
monitors progress to determine if additional support and resources are needed by Maryland farmers who are transitioning to the PMT.
The regulations allow the Maryland Secretary of Agriculture to grant a one-year extension if it is determined that adequate resources are not available to implement the PMT.
On December 14, 2020, the Phosphorus Management Tool Transition Advisory Committee voted overwhelmingly to proceed with the planned schedule for the PMT. The Maryland Secretary of Agriculture agreed with the Committee's assessment. The PMT will move toward full implementation on July 1, 2021.
Dwight DottererNutrient Management Program AdministratorPhone: 410-841-5959Fax: 410-841-5950Office Address50 Harry S. Truman ParkwayAnnapolis, MD 21401
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21401