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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Physiology and Genetic Improvement of Small Fruit Crops Title: Application of the “4R” nutrient stewardship concept to horticultural crops: getting nutrients in the “right” place

Author
item Bryla, David

Submitted to: HortTechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 14, 2011
Publication Date: December 8, 2011
Citation: Bryla, D.R. 2011. Application of the “4R” nutrient stewardship concept to horticultural crops: getting nutrients in the “right” place. HortTechnology. 21(6):674-682.

Interpretive Summary: The most suitable method of fertilizer application for a particular crop increases productivity and profitability and improves fertilizer use efficiency but varies depending on the nutrient element, fertilizer source, soil characteristics, cultural practices, stage of crop development, weather conditions, and farming enterprise constraints. The 4R nutrient stewardship concept was introduced in 2009 by International Plant Nutrition Institute to define the right source, rate, time, and place to apply fertilizers to produce not only the most economical outcome in any given crop but to also to provide desirable social and environmental benefits essential to sustainable agriculture. Comparisons among application methods are available for many crops and provide useful information for improving fertilizer placement practices, but many practical questions such as how fertilizer source and availability are affected by irrigation interactions or whether there are ways to manage crop roots for more effective nutrient uptake still remain.

Technical Abstract: The 4R nutrient stewardship concept was introduced in 2009 by International Plant Nutrition Institute to define the right source, rate, time, and place to apply fertilizers to produce not only the most economical outcome in any given crop but to also to provide desirable social and environmental benefits essential to sustainable agriculture. Fertilizer placement decisions depend on mobility of applied nutrients in the soil and the depth and distribution of the crop’s root system. Various methods are used to apply fertilizers to horticultural crops, including broadcasting, banding, fertigation, foliar application, and micro-injection. Generally, the most appropriate method for any crop increases productivity and profitability and improves fertilizer use efficiency but varies depending on the nutrient element, fertilizer source, soil characteristics, cultural practices, stage of crop development, weather conditions, and farming enterprise constraints. Comparisons among application methods are available for many crops and provide useful information for improving fertilizer placement practices, but many practical questions such as how fertilizer source and availability are affected by irrigation interactions or whether there are ways to manage crop roots for more effective nutrient uptake still remain.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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