The 4R Research Fund was established by the fertilizer industry to help establish sustainability indicators and environmental impact data for implementation of 4R nutrient stewardship across North America. It provides needed resource support with a focus on measuring and documenting the economic, social and environmental impacts of 4R nutrient stewardship. This effort will help expand the 4Rs beyond being solely an industry effort and towards becoming a viable strategy embraced by other important stakeholders to address cropping system productivity and concerns for nutrient losses into the environment. Further information on 4R Nutrient Stewardship can be found on nutrientstewardship.org.
Funds for the 4R research effort were initially derived from within the fertilizer industry. Specifically, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the Canadian Fertilizer Institute (CFI) have obtained support from their members. Since creation of the 4R Research Fund, additional agricultural stakeholders have contributed to the effort.
The 4R Research Fund has been established within the Foundation for Agronomic Research (FAR). FAR is a non-profit 501(c)(3) research and education foundation established in 1980 by the Board of Directors of the Potash and Phosphate Institute. Today it is managed by the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI).
A 4R Fund Management Committee provides oversight of the 4R Research Fund and includes representation from IPNI, TFI and CFI as well as agricultural industry members to ensure that industry priorities are maintained and a consistent 4R approach is executed. A Technical Advisory Group is working to determine research needs and funding areas and is providing input and support to the Fund Management Committee. The Technical Advisory group includes representatives from industry, academic and government agency experts in agronomy, environmental sciences, sustainability, government relations and communications.
Research fund contributors are listed below, if you would like to contribute to this effort please contact Lara Moody, Director of Stewardship Programs for TFI ([email protected]).
Request For Proposals
During the fall of 2013, Proposals were accepted for the follwing project areas. Proposals have now been awarded for the Meta-Analyses RFP and for the Research and Demonstration RFPs.
Meta-Analyses on the Impacts of 4R Nutrient Stewardship
The objective of this RFP was to solicit literature reviews and syntheses on topics related to 4R Nutrient Stewardship on a national, regional, or cropping system basis utilizing meta‐analyses with stepwise regression, ANOVA, causal analysis, or other statistical methods. The intent of the projects developed from these proposals is to utilize previous research to establish the impacts of 4R Nutrient Stewardship efforts. This will avoid needless duplication of previous research and inform industry, academia, and agencies of knowledge gaps that need to be addressed with future research.
- An analysis of 4R Nutrient Stewardship implementation on drained land was awarded to a project partnership between The Conservation Fund and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
- A meta-analysis of nitrogen losses and 4R Nutrient Stewardship in U.S. corn-based systems was awarded to researchers at Duke University
- A meta-analysis of phosphorus fertilizer placement and tillage interactions for corn and soybeans in the U.S. was awarded to researchers at Kansas State University
- An assessment of the effects of conservation practices and fertilizer application methods on nitrogen and phosphorus loss from farm fields was awarded to a project partnership between the University of Toledo and USDA ARS
- A meta-analysis of enhanced efficiency fertilizers in corn systems in the Midwest was awarded to researchers at Southern Illinois University
Research and Demonstrations on Impacts of 4R Nutrient Stewardship
The objective of this RFP was to solicit proposals for field research and demonstration projects evaluating and promoting the economic, social, and environmental impacts of 4R Nutrient Stewardship. Projects must address at least one of the 4Rs in addition to rate (preferably all four) for optimal agronomic management and impact on local environmental challenges such as water body nitrate levels or P loads and eutrophication. Impact indicators measured should be scalable and include system productivity and environmental effects such as those listed in the projects requested section of this RFP. Recognition of system and site interactions on the effectiveness of specific 4R practices will be important, including interactions among cultural practices such as rotation, genetics, tillage, nutrient-nutrient interactions, cover crops, etc.
4R Research and Demonstration RFP
- A project to “Evaluate the 4R Concept and Certification Program in Western Lake Erie Basin” was awared to Kevin King, with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS), in partnership with Heidelberg University, LimnoTech, Ohio State University, The Nature Conservancy and the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI ).
- A project to study “Minimizing Phosphorus Loss with 4Rs and Cover Crops” was awarded to Nathan Nelson to lead efforts at Kansas State University on research to assess interactions between cover crops and phosphorus (P) fertilizer management and their impact on P loss, P use efficiency, crop yield and net return. The effort will also assess how these interactions impact nitrogen (N) loss and N use efficiency.
- An effort to study “Supplemental Late-Vegetative N Applications for Hight Yield Corn: Agronomic, Economic, and Environmental Implications with Modern vs. Older Hybirds” was awarded to Tony Vyn at Purdue University.
- A project to evalute the “Impacts of 4R N Management on Crop Production and Nitrate-N Loss in Tile Drainiage” was awarded to Matthew Helmers and John Sawyer of Iowa State University to study multiple N management practices on drained landscapes including fall ammonia with a nitrification inhibitor, spring ammonia, and a split application with a season-specific side-dress rate.
4R Research Fund Contributors