Nebraska 4Rs Nutrient Stewardship Field Day Featured Crop Nutrient Management Research

Nathan Mueller speaking in corn field
Nathan Mueller, Nebraska Extension water and integrated cropping systems educator, speaks to participants during the 2023 4Rs Nutrient Stewardship Field Day.

Nebraska 4Rs Nutrient Stewardship Field Day Featured Crop Nutrient Management Research

The 2023 Nebraska 4Rs Nutrient Stewardship Field Day featured research information and tools available on improving crop nutrient management July 6 at the Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center.

The field day focused on sharing up-to-date information from past and ongoing research and hands-on infield experience through visiting small-plot research demonstrations covering the three major crop nutrients — nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

The 4Rs is a nutrient management and water quality stewardship approach that emphasizes fertilizer use with the right source, right rate, right time and right placement. This science-based approach focuses on the best nutrient management practices and sustainable crop production with increasing crop yield and farmer’s profit while protecting the environment. Nitrogen certification was provided to farmers in the Lower Platte North Natural Resource District. Sixty-seven participants, including NRD staff, growers, crop consultants, extension educators, graduate students, faculty, industry representatives and other clientele attended.

Speakers from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and Iowa State University presented the following topics related to 4Rs strategies:

  • Javed Iqbal, assistant professor and Nebraska Extension soil nutrient management and water quality specialist, presented updated research on optimizing nitrogen management through publicly available nitrogen recommendation tools.
  • Nathan Mueller, Nebraska Extension water and integrated cropping systems educator, evaluated participants’ before and after knowledge of the presented topics from the morning presentations through two Q&A sessions on a scratch card game. For example, 11 out of the 18 groups — three to four participants per group — correctly answered the potassium pre-training question and 18 of the 18 groups correctly answered the same multiple-choice question at the end of the training. In the afternoon session, Mueller led Nebraska’s 4Rs team to engage the participants in roundtable group activities on phosphorus and potassium recommendation scenarios.
  • Joe Luck, ENREEC associate director, shared research data on optimizing nitrogen management through sensor-based fertigation management.
  • Swetabh Patel, agronomy and horticulture postdoctoral research associate, shared different approaches for optimizing phosphorus needs for improving corn production in Nebraska from a long-term phosphorus trial 
  • Antonio Mallarino, Iowa State University professor of soil fertility and nutrient management, shared the updated potassium recommendations in Iowa.

Phosphorus and potassium recommendations were demonstrated through small-plot trials in an afternoon outdoor session.

Attendees participated in a short survey and acknowledged that the updated research-based information will help to improve nutrient management, adding value to the grower’s farm.

Iqbal organized and led the field day. Other organizers contributing to the success of this field day included Luck, Patel, Nebraska Extension educators Aaron Nygren and Mueller, event coordinator Connie Hansen, ENREEC staff, and Nebraska graduate students Arshdeep Singh, Dipesh Giri, Anmol Singh and Madhusudhan Adhikari.

For more information about the 4Rs Nutrient Management, contact Javed Iqbal.

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