Focusing on the 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship

BLUEBERRY SEASON is getting kicked into high gear with harvesting this year’s crop that you have been growing all year. Before you know it, harvest will be over and you will start growing next year’s crop. Several years ago, The Nature Conservancy took on a role of working with the farmers, growers, and ranchers on the nutrient management programs. We are promoting and educating about the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Program that was developed by The Fertilizer Institute, International Plant Nutrition Institute, and the Canadian Fertilizer Institute. The 4Rs are scientifically sound with many years of research to support them. The concept is simple: apply the RIGHT Source of nutrient, at the RIGHT Rate, at the RIGHT Time and in the RIGHT Place.

Our view point is you need to work with your fertilizer representative or consultant to determine the Right Source and Right Rate— this is his or her expertise. At the Nature Conservancy, I work with the industry about Right Place more than anything. Are you placing the fertilizer where it will be used by the plant to its fullest potential and get the maximum benefits? By using soil samples for your initial applications and leaf tissue samples for following applications you are able to make the decision on what that plant needs and only put out what you have to. In return, this is additional profi t in your pocket at the end of the day. One of the major aspects of the 4Rs is the Right Place so the plant roots have full access to the nutrients and very little is going to waste.

Water quality is a major concern in our state. By applying the 4R practices to your operation, you will help improve the water leaving your property. The 4Rs are now part of the Best Management Practices (BMPs) and are being placed in all the manuals as they are being updated. You can learn more about the 4Rs by visiting nutrient stewardship.org. Looking forward to a great season.

 

by DAVID ROYAL,
The Nature Conservancy