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4R field day offers practical advice for nutrient management

Article cover photo
Hear from farmers and experts at the Aug. 7 field day about how the 4Rs and other practices like cover crops can help improve productivity, profitability as well as water and soil health. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

By Carol Brown, ISA communications specialist

The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) On-Farm Network® is hosting a field day to explore the 4R’s and other practices to help farmers improve nutrient management.

It will be held Wednesday, Aug. 7 at the Darin Stolte farm, 12952 70th Street, Olin, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with check-in beginning at 9:45 a.m.

“We want farmers and landowners to come and see how Darin is using the 4Rs and other practices on his land,” says Scott Nelson, ISA On-Farm Network director. “He’s improving his productivity, profitability as well as soil health and water quality.”

The 4R’s of nutrient management — the right source, right rate, right time, right place — help farmers’ bottom line by strategically applying nutrients. Doing so reduces production costs and benefits soil and water health.  

“Attendees will learn at least one management practice they can take home to use on their own farm to improve their profitability and their soil and water resources,” says Nelson.

Four stations will address a different aspect of nutrient management:

  • Stolte will share how he incorporates the 4Rs on his farm, including usage of cover crops and strip-tillage. 
  • Brett McArtor and Anthony Martin, ISA regional agronomists, will discuss the basics of 4R stewardship and other practices farmers can do in-field to reduce nutrient loss. They will review the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and how Iowa farmers can help achieve its goals.
  • Chris Hay, ISA senior environmental scientist, will explain several edge-of-field practices that can be installed to reduce nutrient losses from tile drainage. They include bioreactors, saturated buffers and controlled drainage.
    The Iowa Learning Farms will demonstrate their Conservation Station “On the Edge” trailer, which shows how bioreactors are functioning underground.
  • Dean Sponheim, farmer from Nora Springs, will explain his first-hand experience growing cover crops for seed sales. He’ll share his experience of getting started with cover crops and offer insight into the pitfalls and promises of incorporating them into a row-crop production system.

Lunch will be prepared by the Jones County Cattlemen. There is no cost to attend and the event is open to the public. Continuing education credit will be available for certified crop advisers.

To register, go to: and complete the registration formor email Sue Derscheid of the ISA ( by Aug. 1.

Directions to the Olin farm site: travel north on Hwy. 38 out of Olin for approximately 3 miles and turn right onto 70th St. The site is on the corner of 70th St. and 130th Ave. (approximately one-quarter mile from Hwy 38).

Joining ISA as sponsors include The Fertilizer Institute and 4R Nutrient Stewardship, Mosaic, Iowa Learning Farms, Environmental Tillage Systems, Midwestern BioAg and Jones County Farm Bureau.

Contact Carol Brown at

For media inquiries, please contact Katie James, ISA Public Relations Manager at or Aaron Putze, ISA Communications Director at

For permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos contact Aaron Putze at Iowa Soybean Association | 1255 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy | Ankeny | IA | 50023 | US

©2018 Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm Network®. All rights reserved. On-Farm Network® is a registered trademark of the Iowa Soybean Association, Ankeny, IA.Portions of some On-Farm Network trials are paid for in total or in part by the soybean checkoff.