Novel 4R Nutrient Stewardship Self-Guided Field Days created

COVID-19 changed lots of things, including this year's 4R event July 23-25

Because of the novel coronavirus, there’s now also the novel 4R Nutrient Stewardship Self-Guided Field Days July 23-25, three miles north of PTH 3 on PTH 13 near Carman.

“This is something very different,” University of Manitoba soil ecology professor Mario Tenuta said in an interview July 14.

There are 15 stations to learn various aspects of 4R (right rate, source, timing and placement) nutrient management.

Participants need an internet connected device that can read QR codes on the tour, or to print station materials ahead of time, Tenuta wrote in an email.

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Ear buds or headsets are recommended because there will be video clips from a number of experts.

“Because of COVID we wanted to do something different,” Tenuta said.

“The beauty of a self-guided tour is that people can do it at their leisure. That’s why we’re doing it July 23, 24 and 25. This got me thinking this (format) could actually be beneficial instead of a drawback because of COVID.”

Tenuta and some other University of Manitoba staff, along with Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development’s soil fertility specialist John Heard will be at the site from 10 AM until 3 PM July 23 to answer questions and engage in discussion.

Tenuta said he expects it will take participants one to two hours to complete the self-guided tour.

“They will be able to see the crop responses (to in-season fertilizer applications) and have the ability to be a sensor themselves with their eyes for treatment responses mid-season,” he said. “They will be able to see some of the technology we are using, methods and tools and then they’re going to see the videos of this happening. Some of these things you can’t do in a normal tour…”

Corn plots will provide the backdrop for the tour, but some techniques for managing nutrients in corn apply to other crops, Tenuta said.

Participants will also learn about the potential to top up corn fertilization in-season.

This is the third year for that research and the results vary with the growing season, he said.

“Staging of the application is very important as well,” Tenuta said.

“The window of application (in Manitoba) maybe a little narrower than we think and that’s just because of our climate.

“We don’t want to have a N deficiency that physiologically affects the development of the crop in season to the point where it can’t respond to additional nitrogen in our climate. There’s a nice interplay between that plant, or pre-plant application, and then what we are adding, which may be more unique to Manitoba than let’s say Ontario.”

Some of the equipment used to apply fertilizer to corn in-season will be on display and demonstrated on video, he added.

Before heading to the tour site participants are asked to complete an online COVID self-screening assessment.

Then text or email Xiaopeng Gao at 204- 292-0633 or [email protected] so organizers know who is attending.

After the tour there will be an online survey to get participants’ feedback and to know how many people attended.

For more information about 4R Nutrient Stewardship Self-Guided Field Days contact:

About the author

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Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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