The right source. The right rate. The right time. The right place. These are the four “R’s” in 4R Plus. This nutrient stewardship program is being implemented by farms all over Iowa. The hope is to generate the right usage of plant nutrients to benefit the soil, the water, and the environment as a whole. It is getting farmers to rethink their strategies. The benefits have been far-reaching beyond just what it can do for the environment.
Stu Swanson farms in Wright county just south of Clarion. They raise row-crop corn and soybeans along with a hog finishing operation. They have been seeing great results by working along with other hog and poultry producers to fine-tune their manure application program. Swanson talks about what they are doing.
Their rotation is based on historical patterns and crop rotations. They have a limited supply of manure available each year. They implemented two-and-a-half-acre grid sampling along with a testing system to determine the manure quality. This is helpful in making sure no nutrients are wasted, and they get to the places where they can do the most good.
Not only are they seeing benefits to their soil, but it is also easing their workload for the operation each fall. It also is an economic benefit as they can reduce their dependence on commercially produced fertilizer sources.
There have been many concerns raised over farmers and their sense of environmental responsibility. Swanson says that the people of Iowa can rest assured that his operation is doing what it can to be responsible. Their farm has been in the family for three generations, and they want to keep it there for generations to come. The way to do that is to be responsible stewards of natural resources.
To learn more about the 4R Plus program and how your operation can benefit from it, log on to the program’s website.