GHGMP News Releases

Farmers keen to try anhydrous applicator

Dawson Creek, B.C., September 15, 2004

A disc-style applicator is drawing plenty of interest this fall among B.C. Peace River region producers looking for an effective, low disturbance, environmentally friendly tool for applying anhydrous ammonia.

The applicator, manufactured by Dutch Industries of Pilot Butte, Sask., features an adjustable disc that creates a narrow opening for placement of the gas fertilizer. Along with specific on-farm demonstrations, the equipment is available for rent through the Peace Region Forage Association of BC (PRFA of BC) in a joint program supported by the Peace River Soil Conservation Association, Rolla Agricultural Services and a federal environmental program.

"We've seen a great deal of interest among producers since we began demonstrating the equipment last year," says Art Funk, of Rolla Agricultural Services. His office in Rolla, B.C., is co-ordinating bookings for the applicator. While the machine will be busy this fall, "we'll do our best to accommodate all producers," says Funk. To make it simple, the equipment is rented out as a package that includes tractor, applicator and operator.

Demonstrations throughout the region are part of a national project aimed at promoting improved crop production practices that benefit the environment, explains Sandra Burton, regional co-ordinator of the soils and nutrient management section of the Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program for Canadian Agriculture (GHGMP). Burton, based in Farmington, B.C., also serves as PRFA forage co-ordinator.

The anhydrous ammonia applicator, demonstrated at several forage and annual cropping sites near Dawson Creek, benefits the environment in several ways. Minimal disturbance reduces the risk of soil erosion and also helps conserve moisture. As well, the low disturbance reduces the risk of soil carbon being lost to the atmosphere by preserving soil organic matter. And, if more producers adopt fertilizer injection or banding techniques, it reduces the amount of nitrogen lost to the atmosphere through volatilization when fertilizer is broadcast applied.

"One of the best features of the applicator is that it works very well in established grasslands," says Funk. "It provides another option for producers in addition to broadcast application."

GHGMP projects are comparing anhydrous ammonia fertilizer applications with broadcast commercial fertilizer treatments and comparing spring versus fall applications.

The GHGMP supports a broad range of projects across Canada with the goal to promote awareness of agricultural practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC) administers the delivery of the soil and nutrient management sector component of the program. For more information on this and other projects and activities, visit the SCCC's Web site at www.soilcc.ca.


For more information, contact:

Sandra Burton, Regional Co-ordinator
GHGMP for Canadian Agriculture
Farmington, B.C.
Phone: (403) 250- 789-6885

Doug McKell, Executive Director
Soil Conservation Council of Canada
Indian Head, Sask.
Phone: (306) 695-4212