Cultivation/Production, North America, Research, Smart Farming, Studies/Reports, Trends

Shaping sustainable farming: Prince Edward Island potato growers embrace slow release fertilizers

New research on Canada’s Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) province has convinced some Island potato farmers to switch over to what are known as “enhanced efficiency fertilizers“, that slowly release nitrogen when plants need it over the course of the season. 

According to a report by Nancy Russell for CBC News, the trials also showed a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions where the fertilizers were used, down as much 60 percent in some fields. 

The studies were done over the last three years as part of the Living Labs initiative, a partnership between the federal and provincial governments, P.E.I. growers, private industry and watershed groups.

Potato researcher Steve Watts of Genesis Crop Systems, described the enhanced efficiency fertilizers as giving crops three square meals a day, instead of every meal at breakfast. Watts said there are several different fertilizers that offer enhanced efficiency, with a variety of coatings that help them slowly release the nitrogen into the soil.

Watts said the research showed that fields produced the same amount of potatoes using the slow release fertilizer, as with traditional fertilizers. He said there is the added benefit of controlling the amount of nitrogen released, losing less into the soil, streams and waterways.

Source: CBC News. Read the full story here
Photo: A tractor is spreading enhanced efficiency fertilizer in a field near Souris, Prince Edward Island. Credit Shane Hennessey/CBC

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