Can enhanced efficiency N fertilizers mitigate against N losses in single-pass seeding operations?

  • Term: Three years, ending September 2018

  • Funding amount: $135,238

  • Lead researcher(s): Dr. Richard Farrell, University of Saskatchewan (U of S)

  • Funding partners: Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture (SMA) - Agriculture Development Fund (ADF)

Project Description

In Canada agricultural activities account for an estimated 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions, with Nitrous Oxide (N2O) being the major contributor. Enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEF) are now available to producers in Canada, and the widespread adoption and uptake of EEF technologies by producers in Prairie Canada holds considerable potential for mitigating direct N2O emissions associated with applications of fertilizer or manure to cropland.

However, while there has been considerable research done exploring the use of EEF nitrogen sources and products, the vast majority of this work has been conducted in areas outside of the semi-arid northern great plains and has involved cropping systems that differ considerably from those common in Saskatchewan. Therefore this research will address significant gaps in the development of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to limit losses of nitrogen from both irrigated and dryland (rainfed) cropping systems in Saskatchewan, thus protecting both the environment and the economic investment of Saskatchewan producers. Specific project objectives include:

- Evaluating the benefits of EEF technologies and related 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices to the agriculture industry

- Demonstrating and quantifying improved nitrogen use efficiency through reductions in nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions achieved through adoption of enhanced efficiency fertilizer (EEF) products under irrigated and dryland (rainfed) conditions

- Determining the N2O reduction potential of spring versus fall applications of conventional and enhanced efficiency synthetic N fertilizers and relating reduction to enhanced nitrogen use efficiency

- Determining experimentally-based N2O emission modifiers for the Nitrous Oxide Emissions Reduction Protocol (NERP) for Saskatchewan

- Determining the agronomic and economic benefits of adopting EEF technologies under irrigated and dryland farming conditions in Saskatchewan

Finally, this research aims to quantify the added commercial value of EEF and identify levels of compensation required for producers to broadly implement EEF technologies.