Adapting to climate change through Fertilizer Best Management Practices
The agricultural sector is one of the most vulnerable to climate change, and its negative effects (such as extreme weather events, increasing temperatures, declining availability of water and
other resources) have started to severely impact agricultural livelihoods in many regions.
Site-specific nutrient management allows for a correct fertilization of plants that helps boost their health, and their resilience to climate stress. Healthy soils and plants can better withstand climate stress and also contribute to greater water
use efficiency. Moreover, it will be vital for farmers to maximize their yields in good seasons to make up for potentially more severe weather events.
Site-specific nutrient management practices optimize product efficacy and minimize nutrient losses to the environment. The 4Rs Principles are the core of these best management practices.
The 4Rs entail using the Right fertilizer source at the Right rate, Right time and Right place so that fertilizer application can be managed to achieve economic, social and environmental goals.
The 4Rs are applied throughout the world, in developed, developing and emerging economies.
Conservation practices (such as crop rotation, reduced tillage, mulching and cover cropping) can increase soil resilience by reducing soil erosion and water evaporation, while stream buffers and wetlands contribute to filtering surface water. Combining them with 4R nutrient stewardship (“4R Plus”) is starting to show very good results in conserving humidity in soils, and reducing nutrient losses to the environment while boosting productivity.