Understanding the Science of Nutrients, Their Sources and Application

Agricultural nutrient applications are associated with some of today's most concerning environmental issues, including impacts on water quality and contributions to greenhouse gasses. In addition, crop nutrient expenses are second only to land costs as an overall expense for farmers. Managing nutrients is one of the more complicated aspects of producing crops, as considerations vary by nutrient source, placement, timing, the rate of application, and are dramatically affected by the weather.

Professionals in many areas of agriculture depend upon understanding soil chemistry and how nutrient management can increase the health and bounty of crop production. Knowledge of nutrients and their management can allow individuals involved in better setting strategies and improving recommendations.

Whether you are personally involved in production agriculture, advising farmers as an agricultural retailer or consultant, a representative or applicator for an agricultural business or government agency, or just looking to build your expertise, this course will cover topics that should be of interest to you.

24 CEUs
24 CEUs

Certified Crop Advisers receive 24 continuing education units.

120+ Videos
120+ Videos

Over 120 video lessons along with additional educational materials.

Award f​or Excellence
Award f​or Excellence

2018 Award f​or Excellence in Distance Education: Course Design and Teaching

24 CEUs
24 CEUs

Certified Crop Advisers receive 24 continuing education units.

120+ Videos
120+ Videos

Over 120 video lessons along with additional educational materials.

Award f​or Excellence
Award f​or Excellence

2018 Award f​or Excellence in Distance Education: Course Design and Teaching

Nutrient Management is a 100% online, 12-week non-credit course that provides advanced knowledge from which practitioners can help their customers benefit and their companies succeed. The course was designed for working professionals who have a basic understanding of agronomy and chemistry and want to expand their knowledge of nutrients and their management.

Learners can access the content according to their schedules 24/7 on their computer, tablet or mobile device with Internet connection. Learners will follow a one module per week schedule.

The foundation of the lesson modules is dozens of video lessons featuring experts in nutrient management. These are supplemented with reading, graphics, glossaries, downloadable slides, links to additional information, and tests after each module.

After completion, course graduates receive a personalized certificate from Purdue Online suitable for framing..

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Hear From Our Graduates

"Great course, especially when combined with Agronomy Essentials and Precision Agriculture - it all ties in together."
"Thanks for the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the decisions required and the science behind them for agriculture today."

Course Syllabus

Modules are due every Wednesday at 11:59 EDT. Learners may work ahead to finish early if desired.

Module 1: Introduction to Nutrient Management

  • Essential macronutrients and micronutrients, the 4R concept, adaptive management, nutrient management planning, regulations protecting air and water quality

Module 2: Soil Fertility 

  • Nutrient sources, forms in the soil, cations and anions, factors affecting nutrient movement and availability, leaching, mineralization, nutrient interactions

Module 3: Soil Organic Matter and Microbiology

  • Role of microbes on nutrient uptake and availability, crop residue and soil organic matter management, use of cover crops

Module 4: Nitrogen in the Soil 

  • The nitrogen cycle including mineralization, nitrification, immobilization, denitrification and symbiotic fixation, factors affecting nitrogen trans- formations

Module 5: Phosphorus and Potassium in the Soil

  • Phosphorus and potassium forms and transformations, soil factors affecting availability to plants

Module 6: Secondary Nutrients and Micronutrients

  • Forms and transformations of Calcium, Magnesium and Sulfur, and soil Factors affecting availability to plants

Module 7: Soil pH and Soil Amendments/ Salt Affected Soils

  • Soil acidity, alkalinity, and salinity effects on crop production, active and reserve acidity, managing soil environments with soil amendments

Module 8: Nutrient Assessment and Diagnostics

  • Soil and plant sampling techniques, site-specific sampling, lab tests for soil and plants, types and use of sensors, factors affecting lab and sensor results

Module 9: Fertilizers and Fertilizer Additives

  • Fertilizer analyses, characteristics of fertilizer products, field characteristics that affect use, elemental vs. oxide, calculations, use of fertilizer additives

Module 10: Fertilizer Recommendations and Economics

  • Sufficiency level, removal/replacement, and nutrient balance approach- es, P-based vs. N-based, how recommendations are derived, probabil- ities of response

Module 11: Nitrogen Application Timing and Placement

  • Crop response and environmental considerations regarding different Methods of nitrogen applications

Module 12: P and K Application, Timing and Placement

  • Crop response and environmental considerations regarding preplant, sidedress, and split applications of Phosphorus and Potassium

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