GFM Network News


A new approach to phosphorus applications

With variable-rate application at soil-building rates, Scott Keller’s investment in phosphate fertility is paying dividends in higher yields, improved nutrient use efficiency and fewer days to maturity

Reading Time: 5 minutes Scott Keller didn’t fully appreciate the benefit of phosphorus fertilizer until he ran out a few times at seeding. If the drill tank petered out of prills part-way along a pass, he’d continue to the end of the field before filling up. It was phosphorus after all, not nitrogen. “But these missed strips stood out […] Read more

The long-term strategy for P management relies on building, maintaining or depleting soil P, based on soil test P concentration. Medium (M) would be around 15 ppm. High (H) would be around 30 ppm. Source: “4R Management of Phosphorus Fertilizer in the Northern Great Plains: A Review of the Scientific Literature,” by Cindy Grant and Don Flaten.

Phosphorus 101: The basic BMPs

Here are the basic best management practices for phosphorus fertilizer

Reading Time: 3 minutes Soil tests The Olsen (bicarb) test is effective across a wide range of soils, including the high pH calcareous soils common in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, while the Bray test is effective only in neutral to lower pH non-calcareous soils, as are found in parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Kelowna and modified Kelowna tests are also […] Read more


One of the monitoring stations used for the Upper Medway Creek Priority Subwatershed Study (PSP).

From field to stream

Conservation authorities are working more closely with agriculture on watershed management. Have they found a model that will work?

Reading Time: 5 minutes It’s no secret that agriculture is focused more than ever on the management of soil fertility as well as on balancing inputs with crop demand, which means keeping nutrients where they belong. Phosphorus usage in particular has become a favourite topic of discussion, both on conference agendas and around the tailgates of pickups on the […] Read more

Bob McIntosh has been using no-till planting on his farm in Ontario for 27 years.

Researchers defining phosphorus movement in Ontario soils

4R strategy plays a key role in reducing phosphorous runoff

Reading Time: 3 minutes Three short huts with solar panels on them sprout in Bob McIntosh’s wheat field near St. Marys, Ont. Inside the huts are monitoring equipment that goes right to the tiles that systemically move water from his farm. His farm is one of six across Ontario with the monitoring equipment that allows University of Waterloo researchers to study […] Read more


Ontario watershed study shows overapplication of phosphorus

Reading Time: 3 minutes Farmers in one Huron County, Ont. watershed are applying almost exactly the nitrogen needed by their crops, but more than 30 per cent more phosphorus than is needed. University of Guelph researchers reached the conclusions by analyzing multiple years of data collected by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority during in-person interviews with farmers in the […] Read more

Lake Erie plan’s farming recommendations released

Reading Time: 2 minutes A federal/provincial action plan to reduce phosphorus loading in Lake Erie has been released for public comment — and many of its recommendations will have implications for farmers in the Lake Erie basin. None of the numerous recommendations are particularly new or surprising and mostly call for using existing funding programs to encourage certain production […] Read more


Manitoba to axe limits on hog barns

Reading Time: 2 minutes UPDATED, March 20 — Manitoba’s restrictions on hog barn and manure storage construction are set to be shelved by way of an omnibus “red tape reduction” bill. Provincial Finance Minister Cameron Friesen on Thursday introduced Bill 24 for first reading. Among its 15 proposed amendments to various pieces of legislation, the bill would repeal two […] Read more

Phosphorus program aims to reduce Lake Erie nutrients

Reading Time: 3 minutes Chatham, Ont. — Henry Denotter’s farms near Kingsville, Ont. are close to the Wigle Creek, which flows into Lake Erie and takes with it any residues it pulls from nature and farmers’ fields. The Wigle Creek subwatershed, west of Leamington, has turned into ground zero in long-term research on how farmers can reduce phosphorus running […] Read more


Globally, phosphate rock and potash reserves are stable for the foreseeable future, as are supplies of nitrogen-based fertilizers.

No fertilizer panic – for now

Supplies for 2016 seem healthy, but there’s no time like today to lock in your needs

Reading Time: 3 minutes Six years ago, the International Plant Nutrient Institute calculated a timeline for the world’s known reserves of key nutrients. It suggested we’ve got lots of breathing room, including 55 years for N-based fertilizers, 235 years for potash, 696 for phosphate, and a virtually inexhaustible supply of sulphur. Of course, as we use up some of […] Read more

Minogue: Rebalance your fields’ phosphorus bank accounts

Reading Time: 3 minutes While your crop rotations and your seeding practices have evolved into something your grandfather might not recognize, recommended phosphorous guidelines for Manitoba farmers haven’t changed in more than 20 years. Over the past year, Manitoba soil fertility experts came together to fill this gap. John Heard (Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development), Cindy Grant (Agriculture […] Read more