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Field day to improve profitability, stewardship

Article cover photo
Farmers looking to improve their nutrient management are invited to a free field day hosted by ISA. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association).

By Allie Arp, ISA research communications specialist


What: 4R plus Field Day

When: July 31, 9:30AM to 2:45PM

Where: ISU FEEL Farm, 1928 240th St., Boone, IA

And: Event is free, 6 CEU credits available, lunch provided 

Space is limited to 150 registrants. To sign up, email Sue Heath:


Farmers have a lot of campaigns competing for their interest: Increase profitability, raise yields, improve water quality. Many farmers feel the pressure from all sides and may worry about focusing on just one. Especially with current prices, they’re stretched thin already. The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) is hosting a field day on July 31 that could help farmers improve their profitability, yields and have a positive impact on the environment: the 4R Plus Field Day.

On July 31, from 9:30 AM to 2:45 PM at ISU’s FEEL Farm near Boone, farmers, agronomists and other stakeholders will have the opportunity to hear from experts who will present ways to use the 4Rs, plus conservation practices to achieve maximum profitability, yields and environmental stewardship. The day of learning is free, with lunch provided, and attendees participating the whole day can receive six continuing education (CEU) credits toward their certified crop adviser (CCA) certification.

“This is a very important field day for Iowa farmers as it will address the very latest advances in nutrient management and soil and water conservation,” said Scott Nelson, ISA On-Farm Network director. “Farmers will leave this event with lots of ideas on how to improve profitability on their farms as well as protect soil and water”

The 4Rs of nutrient management involve applying the right source, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place. The 4R Plus program looks at how adding conservation practices to good nutrient management can help farmers further improve their soil health and water quality.

The field day will feature six speakers who will share their research and experiences: two Iowa State University (ISU) scientists, two ISA experts and two farmers.

4Rs Overview

Antonio Mallarino and Steve Killpack will join Nelson to present about better nutrient management. Mallarino, professor of soil fertility and nutrient management at ISU, will share his research about the 4Rs of phosphorous and potassium. Nelson will discuss the 4Rs of nitrogen management and Killpack, a farmer from Neola, will talk of his experience with the profit-improving practice of variable rate nitrogen.

Dean Sponheim will share his experiences with conservation practices in the hopes that he'll save other farmers problems. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association).

Plus Conservation

Rick Cruse, an ISU agronomy professor and director of the Iowa Water Center, will share practices that can help reduce soil erosion from Iowa fields. Keegan Kult, an ISA environmental scientist, will present on edge-of-field practices that can help prevent nutrient loss. Dean Sponheim, a farmer from Nora Springs, will walk attendees through what he’s been doing on his farm for nearly 20 years, including the struggles and eventual solutions to implementing conservation practices.

“I’m going to try and save the majority of other farmers a lot of headaches and problems and just let people know the practices will work in multiple areas of the state,” Sponheim said. “What we’re doing dovetails in to the 4Rs and applies to all of them. There are things farmers have been doing that work for conservation and economic reasons.

Economics is just one of the reasons Sponheim encourages farmers to attend the field day.

“Good farming practices and economics are things we all as producers have in the back of our minds; that we have to be economically feasible and know what’s good for our operation, and the 4Rs fit into that,” Sponheim said. “Any time we can come to a field day and this information gets reiterated, it keeps us sharp. And anything that might be different than what we’re doing is good for us to hear.”

For farmers, and professionals who help farmers, this event will improve understanding of the 4Rs, the conservation practices that complement them, and how they can increase profitability during tight economic times.

This event is sponsored in part by The Fertilizer Institute, Mosaic Fertilizer, the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, 4R Plus and the Iowa Soybean Association.

For media inquiries, please contact Katie Johnson, 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

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