Our Focus Stewardship

Climate Smart Agriculture

Easily adaptable, science-based solutions for Canada’s growers

Nitrous Oxide Emission Reduction Protocol

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.

Nitrogen fertilizer is an important driver of nitrous oxide emissions, but it is also the main driver of yield in modern high production systems. Through careful selection of nitrogen fertilizer source, rate, timing and placement practices, the nitrous oxide emissions per unit of crop produced can be substantially reduced, in some cases by up to half. The practices that reduce nitrous oxide emissions also tend to increase nitrogen use efficiency and the economic return on fertilizer dollars.

NERP is a science-based protocol designed to meet international standards for improving nitrogen management in cropping systems and estimating the nitrous oxide reduction associated with better nitrogen management. NERP is simple in concept, driven by data that producers are either already collecting or are interested in collecting to improve their overall farm management system.

Improved nitrogen management within NERP is delivered through a 4R Nutrient Stewardship Plan on the farm. 4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place®) is a science-based program, solidly based in sustainable agriculture that seeks to balance nutrient management decisions within a framework of economic, social, and environmental goals.

The protocol was originally approved for use within Alberta’s greenhouse gas management framework as a protocol for delivery of compliance quality offsets for Alberta’s regulated large final emitters. Its main purpose within the Alberta system is to reduce on-farm emissions of nitrous oxide in a quantifiable, credible, and verifiable way that would allow farmers to produce saleable carbon credits within Alberta’s regulatory carbon market.

The 4R Climate-Smart Protocol

The 4R Climate-Smart Protocol is an easily adaptable, science-based solution for Canada’s growers to optimize nitrogen management in their cropping systems and quantifiably demonstrate carbon reductions.

Implementing the 4R Climate-Smart Protocol, which incorporates 4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place®), increases economic performance for growers while reducing the input costs per unit of crop yield produced.

See the full 4R Climate-Smart Protocol strategy here: Towards a National NERP Carbon Management Strategy

The 4R Climate-Smart Protocol


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