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Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA) members have reaffirmed their agreement to protect Iowa’s soil and water resources.

The group of 11 ag retailers have agreed to the Environmental Code of Practice for 2018. In the Code of Practice, ACWA members agree to delay fall anhydrous applications without a nitrification inhibitor until soil temperatures are 50 degrees Fahrenheit and trending lower. Members use the county soil temperature and forecast maps compiled by Iowa State University as a decision-tool for beginning fall fertilizer applications.

 “For over 15 years, we have focused on proper nutrient management and environmental stewardship and now is no exception,” said Dan Dix, NEW Cooperative general manager and ACWA president. “The Code of Practice is a fundamental aspect of ACWA membership, and we are glad to be a 4R Plus partner. The 4R Plus principles are globally accepted standards of best practices for cropping systems and we are proud to enhance our focus and offerings through them.”

4R Plus focuses on fertilizer application with the consideration of the right source, right rate, right time and right place. The Plus adds conservation practices to enhance soil health and improve water quality.

Led by the Nature Conservancy, 4R Plus is guided by a coalition of agricultural and conservation organizations to support farmers’ efforts to implement precise nutrient management and conservation practices.

“Our Code of Practice aligns with the 4Rs and there is synergy in the guidelines,” said Harry Ahrenholtz, ACWA chairman. “Members of ACWA hold each other accountable to abide by these standards, and each retailer notifies the group when fall fertilizer applications begin.”

ACWA supports adoption of nutrient management technologies to maximize nutrient use efficiency and help protect water quality. These technologies include nitrogen stabilizers, slow release fertilizers, incorporation or injection, soil nitrate testing and other tools that minimize loss of nitrogen to water sources.

Furthermore, ACWA encourages farmers to implement additional conservation and edge-of-field practices to reduce nitrate flow from tile systems including bioreactors, constructed wetlands, conservation stream buffers and cover crops.

“Members are dedicated to helping farmers manage nutrients to enhance both environmental quality and crop production,” said Roger Wolf, ACWA executive director. “The agriculture community remains committed to implementing practices that have a positive impact on environmental and water quality as well as improving crop production.”

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