Skip to main content

FRST Fertilizer Recommendation Support Tool launches nationwide to digitize crop nutrient management

FRST Fertilizer Recommendation Support Tool
The FRST project partners are proud to announce the nationwide release of the FRST (Fertilizer Recommendation Support Tool), a decision-aid that provides an unbiased, science-based interpretation of soil test phosphorus and potassium values for crop fertilization.

The FRST project is a collaboration of over 100 soil science and agronomic professionals representing nearly 50 universities, four divisions of the USDA, several not-for-profit organizations, and one private sector partner. This diverse partnership underscores the collective effort and expertise invested in the development of FRST.

The University of Minnesota is represented on the project by Extension nutrient management specialist Daniel Kaiser.

Kaiser noted that, “while the FRST group is excited about the launch of the decision support too, the tool is the first step in a process to evaluate fertilizer decisions and will still need research support to add additional data to the database behind the fertilizer recommendation support tool.”

“What you see now for Minnesota is the initial stages of development, which will require continued support from programs such as the Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC) which has supported several research projects that have been utilized to establish the foundations of a Minnesota P and K database,” he added. “While I would encourage those interested to go and try out the tool, as more data is added there should be more accuracy in the prediction of critical soil test P or K values, with the added benefit of combining data from across state lines.”

The new web-based tool represents a significant advancement in soil testing for phosphorus and potassium and nutrient management that uses data from across the U.S. with the hope of potentially saving farmers millions of dollars annually while reducing excess nutrient losses to the environment.

FRST screenshot
Screenshot of FRST Fertilizer Recommendation Support Tool

Deanna Osmond, soil science researcher at NC State University, is one of the group’s leaders.
“Until now, soil fertility faculty in each state worked independently,” Osmond said. “But for farmers who work across state lines, it’s difficult to compare or assimilate multi-state guidelines. Our goal is to improve the accuracy of nutrient recommendations through independent, scientifically-developed nutrient management best practices that farmers can believe in and adopt.”

Currently, the FRST provides critical phosphorus and potassium soil test values. Critical soil test values indicate where there is no expected yield increase from phosphorus or potassium fertilizer application. In the next phase, the FRST will provide research-based phosphorus or potassium rate response information to assist farmers in selecting the minimum fertilizer rate expected to produce maximal crop yield.

The current version (FRST v1.0) includes data from nearly 2,500 phosphorus and potassium trials for 21 major agricultural crops, with the majority as corn and soybean.

The FRST includes a map of the US that shows the location of phosphorus and potassium trials represented in the database and can be used to identify where the need for additional research data is greatest.

The database was constructed from both historical and current research data and includes trials from 40 states and Puerto Rico. The team has plans to expand to other crops, cropping systems, and other nutrients, such as sulfur.

Key Features of FRST Include:

  • Data-Driven: FRST utilizes a dynamic database of soil test correlation data that is constantly updated to improve testing confidence.
  • Crop Specific: The database currently covers 21 major commodity crops.
  • Geographically Diverse: Includes published and unpublished trial data from 40 states and Puerto Rico.
  • Unbiased: Blended data removes political and institutional bias in soil test interpretation.
  • Scientifically Sound: Data represents a minimum dataset that provides reliable outcomes.
Nathan Slaton, soil science researcher at University of Arkansas and a leader on the project, noted that “The FRST project has accomplished two really important objectives to advance phosphorus and potassium management for crop production. The first was developing a national database to archive soil test correlation and calibration research ensuring that research information that supports crop fertilization recommendations is not lost as scientists retire. The second is providing a tool that anyone can use to review the research results relevant to their crop, soils, and geographic area to check their soil-test-based fertilizer recommendations. “

Hosted in a neutral space with common access, FRST fosters collaboration and innovation in soil fertility research, paving the way for future advancements in nutrient management.

Greg Buol of NC State University who has provided database and programming support stated, “the design of FRST has always been focused on the end user being able to easily use the tool and understand the results.”

“While the tool can help improve farm economics and conservation practices, there will still need to be some effort to compile new and existing research data moving forward to provide a more robust database,” concluded Kaiser.

For more information about FRST and how it can transform nutrient management on your farm or in your organization, visit and click on “Tool”.

Funding for the FRST project has been provided by the USDA-NRCS including the Conservation Innovation Grants, USDA-ARS, and USDA-NIFA, and OCP North America.


  • Dan Kaiser (, Extension nutrient management specialist, University of Minnesota
  • Deanna Osmond (, Professor of Soil Science, NC State University
  • Nathan Slaton (, Assistant Director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture

For the latest nutrient management information, subscribe to the Nutrient Management Podcast wherever you listen and never miss an episode! And don't forget to subscribe to the Minnesota Crop News daily or weekly email newsletter, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like UMN Extension Nutrient Management on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and visit our website.

If you have questions or comments, please email us at

Print Friendly and PDF