Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show: 4R advocates and why it matters
A local farmer in my area, Dave Legvold, was named a 2017 4R advocate winner through the Fertilizer Institute.
What is THAT? The 4R concept is to use the Right nutrient source at the Right rate at the Right time in the Right place. It’s a little bit like the Master Gardener mantra: Right Plant Right Place
Legvold said it helps farmers get a “cognitive hook” with what they’re doing with fertilizer. Helping them to use it in the most effective, economical and environmentally friendly way.
Legvold puts the fertilizer below the surface of the soil by about 2 inches in the rows rather than spread it and till it. As I’ve told you before, that we don’t advocate tilling our home gardens every year. In fact, the less tilling the better as the machine tends to break down the soil structure, damaging it.
Farmers team up with agronomists to determine the correct R’s with a science based approach. This is not a one size fits all approach but a thoughtful process to work for the best outcome for the farmers, the food they grow and the environment we live in.
If a particular type of fertilizer is used at the wrong time of year it has a higher chance of harming rather than helping.
Legvold said it used to be that a farmer hopped in the truck, viewed the fields of dark green corn and it was all good, turns out, not really, it means too much nitrogen. You can see it in the lakes that are filled with algae. By using science based information, farmers can reduce the amount of fertilizer, saving money, the environment and producing a great crop.
Depending on what side of the fence you’re on – Organic vs chemical – there are arguments for both. But using the 4R system with EITHER makes a lot of sense. Too much of a “good thing” is still too much….