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Reducing Agriculture's Environmental Impact Near Urban Regions

Growing populations and expensive land are contributing to intensive agriculture production near urban centres around the world. Nutrients that are beneficial for farming may have a negative impact on nearby waterways if they are not managed properly. In the Lower Fraser Valley region of British Columbia, Agricultural and Agri-Food Canada scientists are developing multi-tiered strategies to help reduce the widespread problem of nutrient surpluses from intensive farming.

The team developed a website to help producers in the field with precision nutrient management NLOS. Farmers are advised on how they can best manage their soils. The website uses climate data, soil information and crop factors entered by the user in combination with daily weather data from over 100 weather stations across Canada.

These researchers are also finding ways to optimize land use and reduce feed and fertilizer imports on dairy farms. They have developed a novel precision manure application technology that allows a more balanced uptake of manure nutrients; on-farm demonstrations are being conducted in British Columbia. The technology is being validated in the Netherlands and Denmark and has been adopted by commercial farms in northern Germany.

These strategies will help reduce the environmental impact and improve the economic performance of farms in the urban-rural nexus.

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