Iowa 4R Plus Crop Reports

Follow Four Iowa Farmers Implementing 4R Plus Practices

A variety of 4R Plus practices are used on Iowa’s landscape. Learn about the practices four farmers from different regions of the state utilize, along with the benefits they see on, near, and away from their farms. Through the growing season they share how they achieve their soil health and water quality goals while remaining focused on top-end crop potential.


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Preserving productive Iowa soil

Dale Launstein farms with his brother, John, in Grundy County. Seventy-five percent of their land is mostly flat, but 25% is highly erodible. They also operate two hog finishers and use the manure to fertilize their strip-till corn and no-till soybeans. Cover crops are seeded on all acres after harvest for soil health benefits.

Dale Launstein, Launstein Farms

Grundy County

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4R Plus practices protect the soil, water and wildlife

Julius Schaaf is a fifth-generation corn and soybean farmer from the rolling hills of southwest Iowa. He’s transitioning to retirement and handing over more of the work to his son and a longtime partner but remains active on the farm. He began experimenting with no-till in the 1980s. Habitat for wildlife has expanded. Nutrients are precisely determined and applied based on soil testing.

Julius Schaaf

Freemont County

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Increasing organic matter with one-pass vertical tillage

Kelly Nieuwenhuis is a third-generation corn and soybean farmer on the mostly flat ground in northwest Iowa. He also partners in a hog finishing operation. He converted to narrow, 20-inch rows in 2004, and in 2016, switched to one-pass vertical tillage just before planting. The results: significant increases in organic matter, reduced fertilizer use, reduced fuel use and improved water quality.

Kelly Nieuwenhuis

O’Brien County

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No-till and cover crops = soil health you can see

Michael Vittetoe is a third-generation corn and soybean farmer on mostly flat, black, high prairie ground with some rolling terrain. He has been increasing acres of cover crops, started utilizing relay cropping to grow cereal rye for cover crop seed, uses hog manure ahead of corn and runs a small herd of Belted Galloway cattle in a regenerative grazing program that uses a diverse mix of forages.

Michael Vittetoe, Janden LTD, Long Creek Pastures

Washington County

2020 Iowa Crop Reports

Farmer Report

New practices enhance long-term usage of no-till

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Farmer Report

Conservation and nutrient practices preserve the soil

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Farmer Report

Focused on practices that deliver results

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Farmer Report

Determined to preserve soil and water quality

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2019 Iowa Crop Reports

Farmer Report

Focused on soil health and utilizing input investments

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Farmer Report

Doing things differently to preserve topsoil

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Farmer Report

Passing on a conservation legacy

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Farmer Report

Adding practices and maintaining top-end yields

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