Alberta is a major contributor to Canada’s agriculture industry, which uses nitrogen fertilizer as a main source of plant nutrients. Nitrogen fertilizer is the leading driver of yield in modern high production systems, allowing farmers to sustainably feed the growing population.
In order to reduce the impacts of emissions from nitrogen, the Nitrous Oxide Emission Reduction Protocol (NERP) researchers work to meet international standards on improving nitrogen management in cropping systems and estimate the nitrous oxide reduction factors associated with more efficient nitrogen management. Farms implementing a 4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right Source @ the Right Rate, Right Time, and Right Place®) plan can incorporate NERP practices to deliver results to improve practices for environmental stewardship.
Fertilizer Canada also successfully completed five agreements from 2013 to 2014 regarding the adoption of 4R Nutrient Stewardship. In 2013, Fertilizer Canada and Lakeland College (Vermillion) partnered to incorporate the 4R Nutrient Stewardship into the college’s agricultural curriculum. Fertilizer Canada and the Agricultural Research Extension Council of Alberta (ARECA) incorporated 4R planning into their field research studies and as a component of the Alberta Environmental Farm Plan. Fertilizer Canada, Farmer’s Edge, and Capital Power Corporation also came together in 2014 to develop a program to generate offsets using NERP for use in the Alberta Offset System. Lastly, Phases I and II of our Alberta initiative were completed successfully. Phase II of the project supports implementation of NERP, enables farmers to qualify for carbon offsets, and received $252,000 in funding from The Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC) to continue its progress.
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship is environmentally and economically beneficial for Alberta farmers. The 4R Nutrient Stewardship can result in benefits of up to $87/acre. Implementation of the sustainable practices can also result in a 15 to 25 percent decrease in nitrous oxide emissions.