Merriams Webster defines Stewardship as “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care”. This really speaks to the essence of 4R nutrient stewardship, what it is and what is stands for. As a farmer you know more than anyone how important the resources that you work with are. The soil that we grow our crops on is really our lifeline, in order to successfully grow crops we know that we need to maintain our soils health.
Modern farming is under more scrutiny than ever and consumers are demanding that the food they buy and eat is produced locally, sustainably and environmentally. This can seem like an impossible feat but many farms are already doing a great job of farming sustainably. Practices such as applying anhydrous ammonia when the soil temperature has cooled or consistent soil sampling are great examples of practices that you as growers are doing already. These practices showcase your care for the resources that you are working with. 4R compliments these practices that you are already doing and measure the stewardship goals that you are working towards.
4R Nutrient stewardship refers to applying the Right source of nutrients, at the Right Rate of nutrients, at the Right time and in the Right place. It is really nothing more than a quantified version of the sustainable practices that you are doing already on your farm. The reason that 4R Nutrient Stewardship is becoming so important is that it gives us a way to show consumers that we, as the farming community, are stepping up and doing the right thing for our soils, crops and the environment.
- Field specific fertilizer blends
- Banding fertilizer
- Applying fertilizer based on soil samples
- Variable rate soil fertilizer applications
- Minimum tillage
- Apply Nitrogen after the soil cools in the fall
By assessing your nutrient management plans from the perspective of the 4R best management practices we can ensure that we are doing the best job we can with the resources that we have. If you have any questions about 4R nutrient stewardship, how it can implemented on your farm and what that would mean for you please get in touch the Neerlandia Coop GrowTeam.