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4R Nutrient Stewardship: optimising agriculture

The UN estimates the world population will increase by 2 billion to 9.7 billion by 2050, which means that farming and land use will have to become more efficient. Humanity’s greatest challenge will be achieving food security while reducing environmental impact and ensuring the conservation of soil and natural resources.

What tools do farmers currently have to improve soil productivity? 4R Nutrient Stewardship is designed to ensure sustainable use of nutrients without polluting the environment. Acron follows 4R principles and practices to help farmers around the world achieve the best results.

The 4R concept implies that the right nutrient source must be applied at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place.


Right source

Ensure a balanced supply of essential nutrients, considering both naturally available sources and the characteristics of specific products in plant-available forms. Supply soluble phosphorus that is easily accessible to plants; ensure that sulphur is added to soil in sulphate form and microelements are applied as chelate compounds. In addition to mineral sources, consider using plant residues as a nutrient source.

Right rate

Assess and make decisions based on soil nutrient supply and plant demand. Apply balance methods (nutrient balance, estimated yield increase balance or coefficient balance) to avoid excessive fertiliser application. These methods help reduce environmental impact and maintain soil fertility while contributing to yield goals. For example, too much nitrogen applied in autumn is likely to cause winter crops to overgrow and die during winter.

Right time

Address plant growth characteristics and key development phases to ensure efficient fertiliser application. For example, nitrogen applied too soon will be lost to the atmosphere or pollute groundwater. Keep in mind the nutrient class (recyclable or low-recyclable agents) when assessing nutrient deficiency symptoms. For example, yellow leaves can be caused by a deficiency of nitrogen or sulphur. However, low nitrogen affects older leaves, while low sulphur affects newer leaves.

Right place

Nutrient movement within the soil is important for improving application efficiency. Application depth is not relevant for nitrogen due to its high mobility, while phosphorus is less mobile and must be applied directly to the root zone. Keep in mind spatial field variability to apply nutrients in a site-specific way.

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