PEI

Farmers, environmentalists extend 4R fertilizer partnership another 3 years

Farmers, environmentalists and Fertilizer Canada announced Wednesday they will extend a partnership that began in 2012 to implement the 4R method of fertilizing, which they say simultaneously increases yields while being better for the environment.

Program aims to increase yields, decrease nitrates, through precise fertilizer application

Robert Godfrey, of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture, said the 4R program is important because fertilizer is one of the biggest costs when growing any crop. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Farmers, environmentalists and Fertilizer Canada announced Wednesday they will extend a partnership that began in 2012 to implement the 4R method of fertilizing, which they say simultaneously increases yields while being better for the environment.

The method involves using the right source of nutrients, applied at the right rate in the right time and the right place, hence the four Rs. 

An extension to the existing deal between stakeholders commits $60,000 over three years to implement 4R certification on the Island. The signatories are:

  • Fertilizer Canada.
  • The provincial government.
  • The P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture.
  • The P.E.I. Potato Board.
  • The Kensington North Watersheds Association.

"It includes funds that will see this program more promoted by the retailers themselves, and making sure that we're getting as many producers as possible in underneath this program," said Robert Godfrey, executive director of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture.

Stakeholders have said in previous years that the voluntary program is a win-win for growers, providing the best yield, with less fertilizer residue left in the field, but still growing a product customers are happy with.

"Fertilizer's one of your biggest costs of production when it comes to growing a crop of any kind, and you want to make sure you're getting the biggest bang for your buck," Godfrey said.

Fertilizer Canada, which represents manufacturers, wholesale and retail distributors of nitrogen, phosphate, potash and sulphur fertilizers, said in a news release Wednesday that demonstration trials over the last six years have found the average crop value of harvests increased $80 to $200 an acre under 4R.

The partnership has positively affected almost 13,000 farm acres on the Island, Fertilizer Canada said. 

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