Wisconsin legislators, state agency representatives and local officials attended the Sustainable 4RWI field day hosted by Ken Nolden at Narrow’s Dairy in Rock Springs, Wis. on September 24 to learn about sustainable farming practices through the Sustainable 4RWI partnership. The on-farm event highlighted practices that reduce environmental impact while maximizing productivity and profitability, and served as a platform for collaboration and communication between elected officials, farmers and agricultural retailers.
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship approach stands for choosing the right nutrient source to apply at the right rate in the right place at the right time.
The 4R method provides a framework to achieve cropping goals. Properly managed nutrients support higher crop yields, increase farmer profitability, enhance environmental protection and improve sustainability.
These best management practices optimize efficiency of nutrient use, matching the nutrient supply with the crop requirements, minimizing nutrient losses from the field.
Topics discussed during the late-September event included conservation practices, nutrient management plans, precision technology, Discovery Farms and their contribution to on-farm research, and the Sauk Soil and Water Improvement Group.
Sauk County Farm Bureau assisted in organizing the event.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to involve our county boards and town officials to further the conversation about what happens on the farm every day when it comes to nutrient management,” said Sauk County Farm Bureau President Mike Turner. “We are proud to highlight the work Sauk County farmers are doing to conserve the land and water.”
The Sauk Soil and Water Improvement Group shared the programs their farmers are using to improve soil health. One program the group highlighted was the “Soil Your Undies” contest. The contest served as a demonstration in soil health. In healthy soil, bacteria, nematodes, worms and other organisms will break down the 100% cotton underwear. The less fabric left, the healthier the soil.
Representatives from Insight FS discussed grid sampling, which helps farmers understand every inch of their soil and apply nutrients accordingly. This example of precision technology offers a cost savings and promotes efficiency by using less inputs.
Other breakout sessions offered the opportunity to learn about nitrogen stabilizers and nutrient management.
Sustainable 4RWI is a collaborative demonstration project between the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and Insight FS to showcase how Wisconsin farmers and agriculture retailers can work together to sustainably manage nutrients with the 4R method. The demonstration project was led locally by host farmers, Sauk County Farm Bureau and Insight FS field staff.
Rachel Gerbitz is WFBF’s Director of Sustainability Communications and Partnerships and oversees the organization’s sustainability communication efforts. Rachel grew up in Rock County where she was involved in 4-H and the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Association. She now lives in Kaukauna. In her spare time, Rachel manages her small herd of registered Jersey cattle.
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