Advanced Nitrogen Smart Training March 1 in Farmington: A Deep Dive Into the 4Rs

Feb 22, 2024

University of Minnesota Extension is hosting an Advanced Nitrogen Smart training in Farmington on Friday, March 1. The session, “A Deep Dive Into the 4Rs,” runs from 9 a.m. to noon at the Dakota County Extension and Conservation Center, 4100 220th St., Farmington. This training is free and registration is not required.

Most involved in agriculture in southeast Minnesota are aware of the issues surrounding nitrates in groundwater, and the recent EPA directive to the state to take additional action to address the problem. It is imperative that farmers understand the issues and how they can help address the situation.

“A deep dive into the 4Rs” picks up where the Nitrogen Smart Fundamentals course left off, with a detailed discussion on N rate, the contributions from soil and the stress from climate factors.

The 4Rs were developed in collaboration between university researchers and the fertilizer industry during the late 1980s. They promote a nutrient management approach that balances crop productivity with environmental preservation:

  • Right rate: Nitrogen rates have the potential to make the largest impact on both crop production and the environment. The key to optimizing rates is to follow university N guidelines, use soil nitrate-N tests when appropriate, and scout for deficiencies.
  • Right source: Once in a plant-available form, the plant doesn't distinguish one N source from another. However, there are differences in how N fertilizers interact with the environment, which can affect both availability and loss.
  • Right time: The nutrient supply should be synchronized with crop demand and uptake. Several factors influence N availability, including fertilizer source, the use of stabilizers or inhibitors, and field conditions. Together they help determine when it's most appropriate for that particular N source to be applied.
  • Right place: Nutrients should be placed where the crop can use them. Consequently, the application method is important for optimum fertilizer efficiency.

Thanks to the generous support of the Minnesota Corn Growers and their checkoff, there is no preregistration required and no cost to attend.

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