Knowledge is Power: Educational Tools Available for Industry and Stakeholders

09th Dec 2013 4R Practices,Implement the 4Rs,Right Place,Right Rate,Right Source,Right Time,

Nutrient related
issues are demanding attention on a number of fronts. Food supply chains are
becoming interested in the sustainability aspects of agriculture. Surface water
impairments such as hypoxia and algal blooms are igniting calls to action from
environmental groups concerned with their local watersheds. States are
establishing nutrient loss reduction strategies while legal battles ensue over
numeric nutrient criteria and total maximum daily load.  In addition to the productivity aspects of
fertilizer, in this environment you must address loss pathways, potential
environmental impacts, and the relation of those concepts to management
practice selection and grower profitability. These are all factors we must
consider while at the same time striving to meet populations’ needs for food,
fuel and fiber in a sustainable way.

Expanding your
knowledge to address these areas takes time, but your efforts to utilize these
concepts benefit your customer, your organization and key stakeholders. Additionally,
agriculture as a whole benefits from a knowledgeable community of interested
parties. We are better served if individuals involved in state and federal nutrient
policy, corporate food supply chain sustainability initiatives, and
non-government organization conservationists have an improved understanding of
nutrient use concepts.

To help address
this educational need, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) partnered with the United
States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service
(USDA/NRCS), Iowa State University (ISU) and the International Plant Nutrition
Institute (IPNI) to create a set of on-line, 4R educational modules for site
specific nutrient management. 4R Nutrient Stewardship, or applying the right
nutrient source, at the right rate, at the right time, in the right place, is
essential to nutrient use efficiency and productivity. The modules address the
macro- and micronutrients as well as soil sampling and integrated economic and
environmental issues relative to nutrient management within the context of the
4R’s. Topics include an
explanation of the key components of plant nutrition in relation to selection
of fertilizer best management practices addressing the 4Rs. You can access the
modules at the following link,

The on-line
modules which are available free of cost, include downloadable content,
playable presentations with audio, and links to additional resource materials.
The modules are well suited for use by individuals interested in learning
more about basic soil fertility; nutrient cycling and loss pathways;
and use of practices relative to source, rate, timing and placement. They
will provide a solid knowledge base for individuals working with growers as well
as those stakeholders working in the area of environmental quality and related

Take some time to
utilize the educational modules and consider who else in your organization
would find them beneficial. Additionally, perform some outreach. Are there
stakeholders, peers or growers outside of your organization who would benefit
from an improved understanding of nutrient use in agriculture? Information on
4R Nutrient Stewardship, the educational modules and other resource materials
are available at