4R Farming

Iowa Strip-Till Corn

In-furrow and in-season fertilizer applications keep soil health a top priority for this young Iowa grower. The focus on timing and incorporation of advanced strip-till practices help this farm to excel in corn production on a regular basis.


A slight increase in overall cost from intermediate to advanced is justified in the nitrogen use efficiency averages over multiple years. The cost increase in advanced practices reflects equipment and retail service factors; however, this cost was recouped by third year of implementing advanced practices. The farm continues to research and test new product combinations along with tillage practices.

Cost of 4R Practice Implementation for Iowa Corn

Yield Range: 188 to 248 bu/ac

Practices Changed from Intermediate to Advanced

  • Focus on fertilizer blends to incorporate micro and secondary nutrients.
  • Adoption of advanced strip-till.
  • Fields grid-sampled on 2.5-acre plots every two to three years.
  • Fertilizer is variable rate applied based on soil samples and crop removal.
  • In-season evaluation of plant stands and yield potential using 360 SOILSCAN. Plant-available nitrate can be measured to know mid-season N needs.
  • Tiled fields help control runoff and promote healthy microbial life, strong rooting environment, proper organic levels and neutral soil pH.
  • Nutrients are placed closer to excel plant uptake to help minimize loss to the environment and maximize input efficiency.
  • Works with Iowa Soybean Association ON FARM NETWORK to conduct in-depth N trials. Using 360 COMMANDER software, this compares standard N applications vs. matching variable plant population and variable rate N prescriptions.

Environmental Metrics