The concept consists of using the right source of fertilizer, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place.
The Fertilizer Institute’s Foundation for Agronomic Research administers projects for the 4R Research Fund.
“The 4R principles are rooted in science, which has shown us the positive impact they can have on grower profitability and environmental impact,” says Chris Jahn, TFI CEO and president. “Through its continued support of the 4R Research Fund, the fertilizer industry proactively demonstrates its commitment to ensuring its products are applied in proven methods that lead to the long-term sustainability of the industry and U.S. agriculture.”
The 4R Research Fund is supported by the fertilizer industry and other stakeholders. It is a science-based research initiative aimed at improving agricultural sustainability by expanding knowledge of the 4R’s.
In this second round of funded projects, the 4R Research Fund sought to research 4R practices addressing additional regions, cropping systems and issues pertaining to agriculture outside of major commodity crops. With guidance from an industry and academic technical advisory group, the following five projects were funded:
University of Arizona, $341,873 – A study of spatial and temporal nitrogen management for irrigated vegetable production systems. Individual California and Arizona growers are providing project support through access to their farmed acres for research.
University of Arkansas, $292,017 – Research to determine the benefits of 4R nutrient management on water quality and use efficiency. Additional support for this project is provided by the Arkansas Discovery Farm.
University of California, Davis, $503,426 – Investigation of improved nitrogen fertilization practices for micro-irrigated almond orchards, specifically addressing the uncertainties around the “right place.” Additional support for this project is provided by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Almond Board.
Utah State University, $612,805 – Work to understand which combinations of nutrient and irrigation 4R practices will improve crop performance and optimize fertilizer and water use efficiency in four major grain, forage, vegetable, and fruit crops. Additional support for this project is provided by the Foundation for Food and Agronomic Research, the irrigation industry, and other local and state agencies.
Virginia Tech, $874,980 – An integrated approach for nitrogen management in Upland cotton across the U.S. Cotton Belt. Additional support for this project is provided by Koch Agronomic Services LLC, the Virginia Cotton Board,and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The 4R Research Fund was created by the fertilizer industry in 2013 to establish sustainability indicators and assess the environmental impact of 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices across North America.
The fund was initiated by members of The Fertilizer Institute, Fertilizer Canada and International Plant Nutrition Institute, and has received support from other agribusiness companies and stakeholder organizations. Descriptions of these projects, completed and ongoing, are available at http://info.ipni.net/4R-RESEARCHFUND.