Fertilizer costs comprise a large portion of a grower’s budget, and without proper nutrient management, these high investment costs can go to waste. The key is getting a healthy rooting zone for the crop. Healthier soils boost yield, create healthier plants, and reduce emissions. Proper soil and nutrient management will save money and contribute positively to climate change.
Soil conservation and proper nutrient management boost sustainability and improve the soil’s regenerative capabilities. This is why practices like the 4R Nutrient Stewardship are important.
In addition to balancing farmer, industry, and government goals to improve on-farm economics, crop productivity, and fertilizer efficiency, the root of it all is how these principles benefit the environment.
What are the 4R principles?
Properly managed fertilizers support cropping systems that provide economic, social, and environmental benefits. On the other hand, poorly managed nutrient applications can decrease profitability and increase nutrient losses, potentially degrading water and air.
While the 4R nutrient stewardship principles are the same globally, how they are used locally depends on local and site-specific characteristics such as soil, cropping system, management techniques, and climate.
According to Nutrient Stewardship, the scientific principles of the 4R framework include:
- Right Source – Ensure a balanced supply of essential nutrients, considering both naturally available sources and the characteristics of specific products in plant-available forms.
- Right Rate – Assess and make decisions based on soil nutrient supply and plant demand.
- Right Time – Assess and make decisions based on the dynamics of crop uptake, soil supply, nutrient loss risks, and field operation logistics.
- Right Place – Address root-soil dynamics and nutrient movement, and manage spatial variability within the field to meet site-specific crop needs and limit potential losses.
4R nutrient stewardship requires the implementation of best management practices that optimize the efficiency of fertilizer use. In addition to best practices, using the right product – like Replenish Nutrients – supports good soil stewardship.
Our naturally sourced, regenerative fertilizers re-establish soil health and increase crop yield. When combined with soil health practices like 4R principles, Replenish Nutrients offers efficient and environmentally sustainable fertilizer use.
Though potassium and sulfur deficiencies occur in particular areas and soil types, in Canadian prairie soils, nitrogen and phosphorus are the most commonly deficient nutrients. Because crop fertilizer needs vary widely, finding the right source of fertilizer beneficial to both the grower and the environment can be challenging.
Replenish Nutrients products contain a formulation of macronutrients blended with proprietary compost which, when combined with the properbaseload of microorganisms, convert mineral nutrients to their plant-available form. And, since our fertilizers have a minimal environmental footprint and allow for carbon sequestration the offer products a choice in inputs that positively contribute to climate change.
Replenish Nutrients products can be easilyincorporated into an existing fertilizer program, making transition to more sustainable inputs economically viable for farms of all sizes.
Fertilizer rate applications vary with soil and climatic conditions. Soil moisture is one of the main factors influencing soil nutrients. In areas with lower rainfall, the soil moisture reserve should be taken into account when choosing fertilizer rates. Other characteristics of fertilizer rate include crop types, yield goals, and current soil health.
Replenish Nutrients line of fertilizers includes products to rebuild and then maintain soil health, leveraging the nutrients in the soil over the long term. Once reaching a certain level of macronutrients in the soil, a grower can concentrate on maintaining those levels, minimizing the amount of fertilizer needed over time. Application rates can then be adjusted to match crop needs, ensuring you fertilize at the right rate.
Fertilizer is most effective when used on plants at their peak growing cycle. Farmers generally use proper assessments and educated guesses to determine when crops need them.
While it’s common practice to fertilize in early spring, Replenish Nutrients solutions have a flexible application process where inputs can be applied in spring or fall. This accommodates a grower’s schedule, addressing the dynamics of crop uptake, soil supply, nutrient loss risks, and field operation logistics while alleviating workload and stress.
So how do you know when it’s the right time?
- Fall application can improve soil health for the following year’s crop. When the soil warms (or is about to warm), soil microbes become active, and nutrients are immediately available to the plant. The microbiology does not freeze but becomes dormant until the soil warms.
- Spring application can be either pre or post-seeding. Replenish Nutrients micronizes the product to ensure a fine particle size to both support movement of the product to the root zone and boost conversion to plant-available nutrients. This way the nutrients are available when the plant is actively growing or on cusp of germination, creating a stronger more diseases resistant plant.
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship’s fourth principle addresses root-soil dynamics and nutrient movement. In it, the right place means placing and keeping nutrients where the crop can get to them and where the product maximizes nutrient-use efficiency.
Thanks to the unique composition of Replenish Nutrients products, there is reduced concern about inputs being stripped away over time. Our fertilizer stays where you put it so the plant can access it when needed most instead of flushing downstream in the next rain. Replenish Nutrients products in their mineral form are hydrophobic. That means limited leaching and evaporation, so there is less concern for spring moisture and saturation stripping nutrients away.
Our fertilizer can then be broadcast spread or applied with the seed to allow for further incorporation into the soil and faster conversion. By applying fertilizer during the active growing season, rather than when the crop is dormant, rainfall, soil microbes, and insects can team up to shift nutrients toward the roots.
Our regenerative fertilizers feed the soil microbes to improve plant nutrient uptake and leverage the soil’s biology to activate and release nutrients at the right time during the growing season. Learn more about how our fertilizers work and how Replenish Nutrients naturally supports 4R protocols.
Fertilize for the future with Replenish Nutrients products and benefit from optimal nutrient management and soil health for an environmentally sustainable future.