Our Focus


Promoting environmentally responsible and sustainable use of our products, thereby earning the industry’s social license to operate.

Sustainable Farming Is the Future

It’s simple to implement 4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place ®).

Complete the eLearning Course, formalize your commitment online, verify your farm plan is consistent with 4R Nutrient Stewardship principles, and submit your acres to be counted as a part of Canada’s commitment to sustainable agriculture.

Sustainability Report

With the global population expected to exceed 9.7 billion people by 2050, it is more important than ever to get sustainable agriculture right. Fertilizer Canada’s first 4R Nutrient Stewardship Sustainability Report is a comprehensive overview of the work our association does every day to ensure Canadian farmers, and farmers across the globe, adopt sustainable farming practices.

What is 4R Nutrient Stewardship?

Fertilizer is an important input for farmers providing nutrients to plants that are not readily available in the soil, helping farmers to foster plant growth and increase yields.

4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place ®) lets the world know when food has been sustainably grown.

4R Nutrient Stewardship balances farmer, industry, and government goals to improve on-farm economics, crop productivity and fertilizer efficiency while benefiting the environment.

Sustainable farming is the future. In many cases, that future is already underway. Start implementing 4R Nutrient Stewardship, and record your progress online to demonstrate how we are leaders in sustainable agriculture.

What are the 4R Principles?

Right Source

  • Select the correct source of nutrient for your soil ensuring a balanced supply of essential plant nutrients including granular or liquid fertilizers or manures.

Right Rate

  • Consider the availability of nutrients from all sources (eg. livestock manures, commercial fertilizers and atmospheric nitrogen fixed by legumes).
  • Perform annual soil testing.
  • Apply nutrients to meet crop requirements while accounting for the nutrients already in the soil.
  • Calibrate application equipment to deliver target rates.

Right Time

  • Avoid fertilizer or manure application on snow or frozen soils.
  • Carry out nutrient management planning on an annual basis.

Right Place

  • Respect recommended setback distances for nutrient application near waterways.
  • Place nutrients below the soil surface where they can be taken up by growing roots when needed.

Benefits of using the 4R Nutrient Stewardship

Improve Agricultural Productivity:

  • Optimizing nutrient management is simply good business in dealing with fluctuations in prices of fertilizers and other inputs, as well as in process of crops sold.
  • Higher crop yields are well documented with better crop and soil management.
  • Improving fertilizer efficiency increases the quantity produced per acre for each unit of nutrient applied, without sacrificing yield potential.

Minimize Impact to the Environment:

  • Adopting nutrient stewardship contributes to the preservation of natural ecosystems by growing more on less land.
  • Retaining nutrients within a field’s boundaries and in the crop rooting zone greatly reduces the amount that is not utilized by plants and thereby escapes into the environment as pollution.

Roots for Growth: Feeding the World


4R Nutrient Stewardship promotes the achievement of economic, social and environmental goals. Some commonly identified grower objectives that promote the sustainable nature of 4R Nutrient Stewardship include the following:

Economic Goals

  • Improve yield stability and food quality.
  • Contribute to improved regional economic development.
  • Improve net farm profit.

Social Goals

  • Improve farm income.
  • Improve the quality of farm family housing, diet and education.
  • Improve productivity of farm labor by appropriate use of emerging technologies that increase efficiencies of field operations and reduce costs per unit of crop harvested.
  • Improve access to sources of information to assist in farm management decision making.

Environmental Goals

  • Maintain or reduce unwanted losses of nutrients to the environment.
  • Reduce soil erosion of nutrient containing soil particles.
  • Reduce volatile ammonia (NH3) emissions.
  • Reduce nitrification / de-nitrification losses of nitrous oxide (N2O) and di-nitrogen (N2).
  • Reduce energy use per harvested unit of farm production.
  • Improve recycling of crop nutrients from crop residues and livestock manures.

Fertilizer Use in Canada

Fertilizer Use Survey Canada’s agriculture industry is leading the way, providing innovative thinking for the sustainable use of fertilizer, making…

4R’s Across Canada

4R Nutrient Stewardship has been promoted and applied across Canada through a number of provincial and regional programs and initiatives. 4R Nutrient Stewardship is currently being practiced in: Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.

Emissions Reduction Initiative

Canada must choose 4R Nutrient Stewardship to meet Canada’s emission reduction targets In December 2020, the federal government set a…

4R Designation

The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Program recognizes Canadian farmers are moving to the forefront of best management practices in fertilizer use – but we need to demonstrate it to the world.

4R Certification

Sustainable farming is the future. In many cases, that future is already underway. 4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place ®) lets the world know when food has been sustainably grown.

4R Research Network

The 4R Research Network is composed of 10 leading Canadian researchers who will qualify economic, social, and environmental benefits resulting from advanced fertilizer management systems under 4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place).

Climate Smart Agriculture

Fertilizer Canada has led and continues to support the development of the Nitrous Oxide Emission Reduction Protocol (NERP) on behalf of our members as a tool to ensure the economically efficient and environmentally responsible use of fertilizer in Alberta and other jurisdictions.

4R Solution

A Canadian approach that will improve the socio-economic well-being and resilience of 80,000 smallholder farmers, particularly women, in Ethiopia, Ghana and Senegal.


4R Nutrient Stewardship and the Nitrous Oxide Emissions Reduction Protocol (NERP) help to increase production and profitability on the farm while enhancing environmental protection and improving sustainability.


We are a positive impact

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Canada must choose 4R Nutrient Stewardship to meet Canada’s emission reduction targets