Learn more about COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. Daily case numbers and information for businesses and workers.

The Re-Open Saskatchewan plan was released on April 23rd.

Google Translate Disclaimer

A number of pages on the Government of Saskatchewan's website have been professionally translated in French. These translations are identified by a yellow box in the right or left rail that resembles the link below. The home page for French-language content on this site can be found at:

Renseignements en Français

Where an official translation is not available, Google™ Translate can be used. Google™ Translate is a free online language translation service that can translate text and web pages into different languages. Translations are made available to increase access to Government of Saskatchewan content for populations whose first language is not English.

Software-based translations do not approach the fluency of a native speaker or possess the skill of a professional translator. The translation should not be considered exact, and may include incorrect or offensive language. The Government of Saskatchewan does not warrant the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information translated by this system. Some files or items cannot be translated, including graphs, photos and other file formats such as portable document formats (PDFs).

Any person or entities that rely on information obtained from the system does so at his or her own risk. Government of Saskatchewan is not responsible for any damage or issues that may possibly result from using translated website content. If you have any questions about Google™ Translate, please visit: Google™ Translate FAQs.

4 Reasons to 4R: Why You Should Be a Better Nutrient Steward

By Abimfoluwa (Gideon) Olaleye, AAg, Intern Extension Agrologist, Moose Jaw

February 2020

Food production must increase significantly to meet the demands of an increasing global population, which is estimated to exceed nine billion people by 2050. With farmland size staying the same, much of this will have to come from increased crop intensity and yield. To achieve this, reliance on fertilizers is expected to increase, thus the need to practice agriculture sustainably and develop public trust.

4R Nutrient Stewardship simply refers to following the agronomic recommendations of applying the right rate or amount of fertilizer for the right source or crop at the right time (when the crop needs it) and in the right place (where the crops can access the nutrients). All four 4R Nutrient Stewardship principles work together and cannot be isolated from each other.

  • Right Rate: applying fertilizer at the right rate ensures that we are not applying more fertilizer to the soil than it can hold or is needed.
  • Right Source: this involves using the appropriate fertilizer type that suits crop and soil needs and ensures a balanced supply of nutrients.
  • Right Time: timing the application of fertilizers ensures that we are applying the fertilizer at or near the time when the crop needs it.
  • Right Place: refers to the placement of fertilizers/nutrients where the crops can reach them.

The objective of 4R nutrient stewardship as a best management practice is to optimize nutrient supply and usage, while also minimizing losses to the environment. Below are four reasons why you should practice 4R nutrient stewardship.

  1. Environmental sustainability: poorly managed nutrient applications can increase nutrient losses, potentially degrading water and air. Practising 4R principles minimizes such risks.
  2. Social sustainability: Being better stewards of our non-renewable and on-farm resources means you are contributing to and will continue to contribute an improved quality of life by producing safe, affordable and nutritious food.
  3. Public trust sustainability: You are carrying out sustainable and scientific based practices that you are able to communicate freely and openly about. This ensures consumers have easy access to information about farming practices.
  4. Economic sustainability: Helps sustain the economic viability of farm operations. By following these principles, you are optimizing nutrient management and increasing yield per unit of nutrient applied.

4R principles can be applied at any location and on farms of any size. It is important to note that these principles are adaptive. If we do not practice 4R principles and poorly manage our nutrients, the consequences could be grave, including damage to the environment, decreased profitability and an eroded public trust.

For more information on how you can adopt the 4R principles, please reach out to your local crops extension specialist or call the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.

We need your feedback to improve saskatchewan.ca. Help us improve