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4R4U: New Approach to Nutrients

The new 4R4U program seeks to help farmers implement nutrient management practices that makes the most sense for their individual farms.

Illinois Farm Bureau and GROWMARK recently announced the statewide partnership to promote the 4R approach to managing nutrients.

“4R is systems approach to fertilizer use,” said Lauren Lurkins, director of natural and environmental resources, Illinois Farm Bureau. “The four Rs are the Right Source, at the Right Rate, at the Right Time, and in the Right Place. It’s all about figuring out how that nutrient use works for you on your fields.”

Farmer members from county Farm Bureaus and representatives from FS member companies will comprise local planning committees. “The work will happen at the local level,” Lurkins said. “Planning committees will come up with a plan of practices to be investigated further at the local level. The practices will be implemented on demonstration plots where local farmers can review them and find out more about how those nutrient management practices affect yield and soil health.”

The nutrient management systems chosen by the committees likely will vary by region and by nutrient, but in many cases, will be combined to show how these practices can work well together, Lurkins added.

“If we’re talking about nitrates, practices might include different rates of nitrogen application or split nitrogen application, cover crops and inhibitors,” Lurkins said. “For phosphorus, we’re talking about management practices like cover crops, different tillage practices and soil testing. They’re practices with which farmers are probably already familiar.”

For more information and to see a list of 4R4U pilot program counties, visit

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