USDA Incorporates 4R Nutrient Stewardship in New Nutrient Management Standard

Melissa SandfortCompany Announcement, USDA

TFI Fertilizer Institute (TFI) commended the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for embracing 4R nutrient stewardship (the right nutrient source at the right rate, the right time, and in the right place) at the national level with its December 13 release of the national conservation practice standard for nutrient management.

4R Nutrient Stewardship is an innovative and science-based approach to fertilizer best management practices (BMPs) to help achieve agricultural sustainability. The 4Rs imply there are four aspects to every fertilizer application and it provides a simple framework to assess whether a given crop has access to the necessary nutrients. Asking “Was the crop given the right source at the right rate, the right time, and in the right place?” helps identify opportunities to improve fertilizer efficiency and prevent nutrient movement from each field. The four aspects of this system for fertilizer management are interconnected, and none of the four can be right when any one of them is wrong.

Over the past year, TFI has been working with the NRCS to provide input on their revision of this important standard. The nutrient management standard is an important tool in the NRCS conservation toolbox.