Canadian fertilizer industry working with Manitoba growers to reduce environmental

impacts, increase profitability National standard needed to maximize benefits

Kelly McCarthy, Fertilizer Canada T

oday’s growers are facing two seem- ingly conflicting mandates: increase crop yields to propel Canada forward

in agricultural exports, but also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and impacts to water. Te Canadian fertilizer industry is offering a solution to these challenges: 4R Nutrient Stewardship. 4R Nutrient Stewardship is a proven, sci-

ence-based framework that reduces nutrient losses to the environment, while enhancing productivity for farmers by keeping fertilizer in the soil to support crops. Te 4R frame- work encourages growers to apply the right fertilizer source at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place. Fertilizer Canada has worked with its

partners in the federal government, provin- cial governments, industry, and academia to establish a series of sustainable best manage- ment practices (BMPs) for fertilizer applica- tion under 4R Nutrient Stewardship that are universally applicable yet able to be locally focused. In Manitoba, the 4R framework has been recognized in the Manitoba Climate and Green Plan in two ways: as a method for reducing nutrient loading and as a clean water indicator. Manitoba represents a significant op-

portunity to boost our national agriculture industry towards supporting Canada’s eco- nomic and environmental goals. Trough a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Manitoba, Fertilizer Canada has been working to implement 4R Nutrient

Stewardship with local growers since 2013. Through our voluntary 4R Designation

program, Fertilizer Canada is helping agri- retailers in Manitoba and across Canada formally align their business practices with the principles of 4R Nutrient Stewardship as a solution to reducing on-farm environmental impacts while increasing crop yields to sup- port Canada’s commitments. Te 4R Desig- nation program is helping to measure the spread of sustainable agriculture in Canada,

with Fertilizer Canada’s goal of capturing 20 million 4R acres by 2020. In order to maximize the benefits of 4R Nu-

trient Stewardship, support from Canadian decision makers is needed to create a nation- al standard for on-farm nutrient manage- ment using the principles of the framework. In Manitoba, recent research by the Cana- dian fertilizer industry showed that applying enhanced efficiency fertilizer (Right Source) in a mid-row band (Right Place) can help

growers reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 55 per cent. Tis research and other supporting evidence of the effectiveness of 4R Nutrient Stewardship is published in the Key Findings of Te Canadian 4R Research Network report. This demonstrates the benefits Canadian growers could have from advanced fertilizer management systems under 4R Nutrient Stewardship. For more information on 4R Nutrient Stew- ardship, visit

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