4 Rs of Crop Fertility

Fundamentals of nutrient stewardship invaluable for fertilizer planning

Published in the February 2012 Issue Published online: Sep 06, 2013
Viewed 3390 time(s)

PLYMOUTH, Minn.-Growers can't afford to let much time pass between evaluating the current year's harvest and diving into planning for the next year. The Mosaic Company encourages growers to keep in mind the fertilizer fundamentals while considering innovative agronomic technology. "The 4 R's of Crop Fertility" are keys to profitability and sustainable nutrient stewardship in the coming year.

Simply put, the 4 R's stand for fertilizer from the right source, applied at the right rate, applied in the right time, at the right place. Fertilizer from the right source will deliver balanced crop nutrition, and growers must carefully consider the ratio of nutrient elements applied to their soil.

Innovative products from Mosaic, such as MicroEssentials SZ, were designed with these characteristics in mind. MicroEssentials applies a consistent balance of nutrients that enhance plant uptake, allowing plants to use nutrients more efficiently and achieve higher yields.

Ron Olson, Mosaic Eastern Region Senior Agronomist, points out that the 4 R's deliver more than higher yields-they support the future of agriculture.

"Often growers are too modest about the good things they are doing for the environment," says Olson. "Practicing and talking about the 4 R's is a good way to engage in the conversation. If we look at the trend, it seems likely that we will see a growing interest in efficiency and sustainability, both by growers and by consumers of farm products."

Olson continues, "It's important that agriculture show the regulators, our neighbors and the world that American growers are being good environmental stewards with best management practices."

Smart stewardship practices impact a grower's bottom line, as well. According to the International Plant Nutrient Institute (IPNI), best management practices suggest that at least 40 percent of yield can be attributed to the 4 R's. "Sustainable best management practices such as the 4 R's certainly provide growers with better yields and profits," says Olson.

For more information on the 4 R's and crop fertility, visit