GHGMP News Releases

Improved nutrient management techniques showcased in Nova Scotia

Truro, Nova Scotia, June 8, 2005

The value of soil testing and other nutrient management techniques will be demonstrated to Nova Scotia crop producers this summer through a number of on-farm demonstrations aimed at benefiting production and protecting the environment.

Developed in a joint effort by the Soil & Crop Improvement Association of Nova Scotia and the soils sector of the Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program for Canadian Agriculture (GHGMP), the demonstrations will showcase practices not widely used in the region, says Rob Michitish, program co-ordinator of the GHGMP.

"The goal is to reduce the amount of nitrogen used in crop production," says Michitsch. "The soil test demonstrations will show how we can get as good or better yields through improved nitrogen management. These practices will help improve crop economics and will also be resource conservation measures that are good for the environment because they reduce the potential for emissions of nitrous oxide - a potent greenhouse gas."

The cool, and often wet, growing conditions of the Nova Scotia climate have been key factors discouraging producers from using nitrogen soil tests over the years, says Michitsch. Fall soil test recommendations, for example, often weren't relevant by seeding time because soil nitrogen levels changed over winter.

As part of the GHGMP demonstrations, techniques such as the pre-sidedress soil nitrogen test (PSNT) in corn, and the pre-plant nitrogen test (PPNT) in grain, are being evaluated. Testing just prior to nitrogen application can help producers fine-tune and likely reduce nitrogen rates, says Michitsch.

Over-application of nitrogen is a waste of money, and negatively impacts the environment as well. Nitrogen left in the soil can leach away over winter and during heavy rainfall. It can also be lost to the atmosphere through a process known as denitrification. Nitrate remaining in the soil can be converted to nitrous oxide, which is one of the more serious greenhouse gases.

The federal Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Program for Canadian Agriculture introduced in 2001, is designed to demonstrate, over a five-year mandate, a wide range of improved management and production practices that benefit production, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The soils and nutrient management areas of the GHGMP program are administered through the Soil Conservation Council of Canada and delivered through a network of provincial committees known as Taking Charge Teams, which are made up of producer, industry, government agrologists and research representatives. More information on Nova Scotia and other projects can be found on the SCCC Website at:

Related Nova Scotia GHGMP demonstrations will evaluate the seasonal timing of manure applications as well as different manure application technologies, says Michitsch.

New manure application technologies, such as liquid manure injection, will be evaluated to determine the effect on release of odour, and levels of nitrous oxide and ammonia. "We'll also be looking at the effect of manure injection on soil productivity, soil quality and yield response, using different rates of nitrogen fertilizer, all under Nova Scotia conditions," he says.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Dave Burton
Nova Scotia Agricultural College
Turro, NS
Phone: (902) 893-6250>

Pat Walker
GHGMP - Beef Project Co-ordinator
Calgary, AB
Phone: (403) 601-8991

Doug McKell,
Executive Director, SCCC
Indian Head, Sask.
Phone: (306) 695-4212