The 4R Summit is being held in Des Moines, this week. There was an informational panel at the beginning of the summit. It highlighted the basics of the 4R program, the involvement of Ag groups to make it successful, and the progress that has been made.
Yesterday’s panel included Dr. Matt Helmers, Dean’s Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and professor of in Department of Ag and Bio-systems Engineering at Iowa State University.
Helmers said we need to work with the programs which offer the best opportunities for down-stream water nitrate reduction. Helmers added it is not going to be as simple of a fix as some used to think.
We are seeing a certain level in nitrate reductions using cover crops, buffer strips, no-till farming, and other practices. However, none of these are offering the results we need. Helmers says if the goal is a 45 percent reduction in Nitrates, none of the practices will get us there on their own, but a combination could. Helmers says we cannot just look at the practices and implementations, we also must consider the financial impact farmers will have to face putting these systems in.
We seem to have a good foundation, now it is time to start building.