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Sponsored: Enhancing Soil Health for Future Generations

Protecting nitrogen, soil and water quality with N-Serve®.

Dean Sponheim has worked diligently to enhance the quality of the soil of his Iowa farm ever since he began farming in 1979. For nearly four decades, Sponheim has implemented new and innovative in-field farming practices, many of which weren’t viewed as conservation practices initially, but rather, just a different way of farming.

“Strip-tilling is a good example of something that we experimented with not because it was a conservation practice, but rather an effective way of getting more out of soils with poor drainage,” Sponheim says. “What we’ve found is that strip-tilling increases the efficiency of nutrient uptake since fertilizer is placed right below the seed, where it’s needed for the crop to grow.”

Sponheim’s custom-strip-till business has been a longtime user of N-Serve® nitrogen stabilizer, even back in the days when many farmers were hesitant to adopt the practice.

“We had 15 more inches of rain in 2016 than we normally get in an entire year, but our yields were better than the record-setting year before,” Sponheim says. “N-Serve and timing of fertilizer applications helped control what would have likely been excessive nitrogen leaching. Nitrogen loss in the spring has a profound effect on yield and water quality. It was amazing we had such great yields despite the excessive rain events.”

In addition to implementing innovative conservation and in-field farming practices, Sponheim says N-Serve protects water quality by reducing the nitrates lost to groundwater.

“I can honestly say that I’m going to give this soil to my son in better shape than my dad gave it to me,” he says.

For information on maximizing nitrogen this spring, visit

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