4R Nutrient Stewardship

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4R Nutrient Stewardship

Using technology to guide application decisions.

A win-win. 

The 4R Nutrient Stewardship method is the framework with which farmers reach their sustainability goals. With a focus on choosing the right nutrient source to apply at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place. This occurs through the use of best management practices, including conservation, precision application and nitrogen management. Not only do these practices provide enhanced environmental protection and improved sustainability, but they also increase production and profitability. We value this program and encourage all our customers to participate. 


Crop Nutrient Best Management Practices

There is an immediate connection between applying the right nutrient source, at the right rate, right timing, and right placements, and beneficial impacts on components of the natural capital evidenced through better crop performance, improved soil health, decreased environmental pollution, and the protection of wildlife. Similarly, positive effects are expected on financial capital, as your profits improve, bringing about improvement in your quality of life and increased economic activity in your communities.


Conservation practices contribute to nutrient management. One of those practices is strip-till. Strip till allows us to only disturb the soil where the seed will be planted. By leaving the soil between rows alone, there is a reduced risk of soil erosion and the practice improves overall soil health. Strip-till can be accompanied with a nutrient application below the surface; ensuring nutrient is in the right place where the plant needs it. It also cuts down on the trips around the field, cutting the fuel usage and improving the economic and environmental benefits. 

Precision Application

Our Insight FS precision team is passionate about sustainability. Precision Farming helps us determine what nutrient the field needs and the right rate to apply that nutrient. There is a lot of variation even in the same field. Our team and their equipment can analyze the fields and provide recommendations specific to the needs. We have the ability to change the application rate while moving through the field to meet those varying needs. This process ensures that the plants get the nutrients needed and no excess nutrients are lost to the environment. 

Nitrogen Management 

Nitrogen is a critical nutrient for high yield corn production. We utilize different technologies to determine the right rate of nitrogen based on the plant's needs. Nitrogen available within the soil is tracked and analyzed by soil samples throughout the growing cycle. This helps use determine the right source and the right rate, at the right time in the critical growing cycle. 

Wisconsin legislators participate in on-farm nutrient stewardship field day

Wisconsin legislators, state agency representatives and local officials attended an on-farm field day to learn about sustainable farming practices through the Sustainable 4RWI partnership. Sustainable 4RWI focuses on the 4R approach to nutrient stewardship – using the right nutrient source, at the right rate, at the right time, in the right place – that allows for the achievement of cropping system goals including enhanced environmental protection, increased farmer profitability and improved sustainability.  

The field day was hosted by Ken Nolden of Narrow’s Dairy in Rock Springs on September 24 as a partnership between Sauk County Farm Bureau and Insight FS. The event provided the opportunity for discussion on nutrient management plans and precision farming technologies with Insight FS, on-farm research with Discovery Farms and Sauk Soil and Water Improvement Group (SSWIG), and conservation programming and Nitrogen Management with GROWMARK Agronomy.   

“We are grateful for the opportunity to involve our county boards and town officials to further the conversation about happens on the farm every day when it comes to nutrient management,” said Mike Turner, Sauk County Farm Bureau President. “We are proud to highlight the work Sauk County farmers are doing to conserve the land and water.”  

Narrow’s Dairy utilizes farming practices to improve soil health and reduce the risk of soil erosion. Discovery Farms and SWIGG provided a demonstration of how this conservation practice protects soil structure and water quality. Insight FS staff shared how they work with farmers to utilize 4R nutrient stewardship principles and technology to meet crop needs and environmental objectives. 

“Through the use of technology, we support farmers in applying nutrients at the right rate in the right place, ensuring we are practicing good stewardship of our natural resources,” said Nikki Wagner, CAFO specialist at Insight FS. “Who can better inform policymakers than those that put in the work every day?”

Sustainable 4RWI is a collaborative project between the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and Insight FS to showcase how farmers and ag retailers can work together to sustainably manage crop nutrients using the 4R method. The project is led locally by the host farmer, county Farm Bureau representatives and Insight FS field staff. 

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general farm organization. Made up of 61 county Farm Bureaus, it represents agriculturists and farms of every size, commodity and management style. Learn more at wfbf.com.

Insight FS is headquartered in Jefferson, Wis., serving patrons in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Insight FS is an agricultural cooperative with annual sales of $270 million (FY 2018 data) providing agronomy, energy, feed, turf and agri-finance products and services, as well as grain marketing. Insight FS is part of the GROWMARK System. More information is available at insightfs.com. 


Photos available at https://bit.ly/4RWI2021

Want to talk to our Precision Specialists? Fill out the form below and we will pass it along to our team. 

4R Nutrient Stewardship Pocket Guide

Check out this valuable resource from the Fertilizer Institute to learn more about the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program. 

Find out more

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