LINCOLN, Neb. -- A new version of the Nebraska Phosphorus Index 2005 will make assessment of potential phosphorus runoff from agricultural land much easier.

The new version has a built-in calculator for estimating sheet and rill erosion, said Charles Wortmann, University of Nebraska-Lincoln nutrient management specialist.

"Most information needed to assess a field with a phosphorus index is easily available to a producer," Wortmann said. "However, the estimate of sheet and rill erosion is the most important information and relatively difficult to determine."

The new spreadsheet tool is available to producers, field consultants and others online. Background information and instructions also are available at the Nebraska Comprehensive Nutrient Management Planning Web site.

The erosion calculator was developed by UNL nutrient management specialists in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The calculator does not require any additional information entry than needed for the previous version of the phosphorus index. It estimates erosion loss in consideration of soil type, slope, rainfall, land use and crop rotation, tillage, crop yields and conservation practice. It is calibrated against the USDA-NRCS RUSLE2 erosion calculator.

All fields designated by a concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO, as being available for manure application need to be assessed for potential phosphorus loss in runoff and erosion. This assessment needs to be done with a phosphorus index before any manure can be applied to the field after Dec. 31.

SOURCE: University of Nebraska news release.