As part of its ongoing commitment to support the agricultural industry and help farm producers develop climate change resiliency, the Manitoba government is launching a new fertilizer efficiency calculator tool, Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson announced here today.
“Manitoba farm producers are great stewards of the land in the use of sustainable agricultural practices and work tirelessly every day to produce high-quality, affordable food while protecting the environment,” said Johnson. “Our government recognizes producers face historically high fertilizer prices, highly variable grain prices, increased focus on environmental impacts of fertilizer use and the need to integrate, recalibrate and optimize all these variables in order to maintain farm profitability. We created this calculator so that producers, agronomists and industry partners can quickly and easily assess the financial benefits to improving fertilizer management practices.”
The calculator uses field-specific soil test results and science-based analysis to provide application recommendations, to optimize fertilizer application on-farm. The calculator compares a producer’s fertilizer plans to the most- and least-efficient fertilizer application cost per acre and net profit per acre. It also provides a user friendly dashboard score for cost efficiency, greenhouse gas efficiency, maximum profitability and maximum yield.
The new fertilizer efficiency calculator demonstrates the value of adopting 4R Nutrient Stewardship, noted the minister, adding that the Manitoba government recently signed a fourth memorandum of understanding with Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) and Fertilizer Canada to reaffirm its commitment to the science-based nutrient management framework.
“Manitoba has been a longstanding champion of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program as a key driver for increased production and reduced environmental impact,” says Karen Proud, president and CEO, Fertilizer Canada. “This calculator helps address barriers to adoption of the 4R program by helping farmers understand the value these practices can provide to their bottom line and the environment. Farmers need tools and data to better inform their decisions and we look forward to working with government and industry to build on this important work. Using the calculator is a great starting point and if growers are interested in learning more about 4Rs they should speak with their trusted adviser.”
The 4R approach considers the:
- right source, which matches fertilizer type to crop needs;
- right rate, which matches the amount of fertilizer to crop needs;
- right time, which makes nutrients available when crops need them; and
- right place, which keeps nutrients where crops can use them.
“One of KAP’s main goals is to ensure the perspectives of producers are included in the development of any initiatives or tools focused on supporting sustainable agricultural practices, to ensure they result in practical strategies that can be applied on-farm,” said Bill Campbell, president, Keystone Agricultural Producers. “Agriculture has the solutions to many of the challenges we face, and KAP is pleased to see the fertilizer efficiency calculator come to fruition as a result of direct consultation with Manitoba farmers. This new tool will allow for farmers to better measure their fertilizer use for improved sustainability outcomes, reduced input costs, and encourage broader adoption of nutrient management strategies like 4R Nutrient Stewardship.”
The Excel-based version of the calculator is now available at: www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/farm-management/production-economics/fertilizer-cost.html.
A mobile-friendly, web-based version is in development and will be available in the coming months, said Johnson.