Nutrient Stewardship 

Environmental stewardship has been a long-standing priority for Canada’s agriculture industry. The industry also recognizes the importance of involving youth in order to maintain agricultural sustainability for generations to come.

The world’s population is expected to rise to 9.6 billion by 2050. Farmers work hard to grow healthy crops to sustainably feed our expanding communities. To do so, farmers must replenish the soil’s nutrients to ensure new crops have proper access to food in order to grow healthy and strong, while the same remains true for urban gardens.

Through sustainable actions, both farmers and home gardeners protect our soil, water, and air for society. However, sustainability can only be achieved by balancing economic, social, and environmental goals. This is accomplished through 4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place®), the leading international standard for on-farm nutrient application.

4R Nutrient Stewardship works to increase production and profitability for farmers while enhancing environmental protection and improving sustainability. To achieve those goals, the 4Rs incorporate the:

  • Right Source of fertilizers that are in – or are easily converted to – compounds best used by the target crop.
  • Apply the Right Rate of fertilizer to match nutrient supply with crop requirements.
  • Apply fertilizer at the Right Time so nutrients will be available when crop demand is high.
  • Apply or maintain fertilizer in the Right Place where the crop can access the nutrients most effectively.

The 4R Nutrient Stewardship framework is promoted and applied across Canada through a number of provincial and regional programs and initiatives. Currently, 4R Nutrient Stewardship is practiced in: Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.

Nutrients for Life Foundation Canada has case studies and resources to help students explore how the 4R framework contributes to feeding a growing population and sustainable agricultural practices, whether on large-scale crops or on urban gardens.

Test your students’ knowledge, or even your own, with Fertilizer Canada’s 4R Essentials eLearning course.

Explore the resources below to introduce your students to 4R Nutrient Stewardship today.