Greater adoption of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Framework is central to the federal government’s 30 per cent fertilizer emissions reduction target for Canadian agriculture. According to the most recent 4R Nutrient Use Survey, familiarity and uptake have increased, yet barriers to improvement exist. Ongoing research indicates field practices can effectively curb nitrogen emissions. GrainsWest spoke with industry experts who all emphasized the benefits of 4R principles.
For generations, Canadian farmers have been careful stewards of the grasslands, watersheds and cropland their livelihoods depend upon. It is only recently, however, they have begun to receive wider public recognition and financial compensation for the critical environmental benefits their practices deliver.
A dozen years ago, Devon Walker officially began farming alongside his dad Donald on the family farm in northwest Saskatchewan near the Alberta border. Like many young farmers, Walker was eager to put his stamp on the farm by adopting new management practices he believed would “shed risk.” After evaluating the farm’s fertility plan, he suggested they put partial fertility down at planting and then top up with a foliar application later in the season when the crop needed it most. “Applying foliar is like rubbing a sandwich on your arm when you’re hungry,” advised Donald.
Those orange and red, blob-like areas on insect survey maps are a farmer’s cue to action. Fields seeded with certain crops and located in and around these hotspots may require individual assessment and population control. Among cereal farmers, the most anticipated of these maps are those for grasshoppers, wheat stem sawfly and wheat midge.
Many farmers celebrate the end of a long growing season with a well-earned sunny getaway. For very different reasons, Canadian cereal breeders also frequently head south, or at least ship their breeding material to foreign locales. The work carried out in international destinations allows them to develop new high-quality crop varieties in a timely manner.
There is growing interest among farmers on the use of biostimulants to boost crop yield and quality. But with curiosity comes skepticism, as limited data on their effectiveness is available. To dispel some of the mystery around these potentially powerful tools, we spoke with companies now developing biostimulants, researchers who aim to quantify their efficacy and farmers who have adopted them in crop management systems.