New tool helps minimize phosphorus loss

When and how should you apply phosphorus for maximum crop production benefit while ensuring it stays put in the field?

Answering these questions is a job for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ new phosphorus loss assessment tool, explains OMAFRA soil fertility specialist Jake Munroe.

In this video, Munroe explains how the phosphorus index farmers currently use in Ontario is being updated and revised to create the new phosphorus loss assessment tool. He says the tool, which will be released in the next six to 12 months, “keys in better on looking at losses of phosphorus from surface runoff and also from tiles.”

More specifically, Munroe adds that the tool focuses on 4-R nutrient stewardship principles: right source, rate, time and place. He notes that specific emphasis is placed on application timing and application process – broadcast versus light incorporation – to develop risk ratings for producers to employ when making nutrient management plans. Munroe suggests the tool will help farmers carry out due diligence and give them the confidence to apply required nutrient levels for high-yielding crops while effectively managing the environment.

In the interview, Munroe demonstrates that “even when we’re applying higher levels of phosphorus, if we’re applying it at the right time and right place, phosphorous risk does not increase significantly.”

Related: Farmers taking measures to clean up Ontario water