Canola Watch 2020 exam – Section 2 – 4R fertilizer management

This is the second of seven sections for this year’s Canola Watch annual CCA/CCSC exam. By dividing the exam into seven separate sections, we are giving CCAs and CCSCs the opportunity to customize the exam based on credits they need and to take some in 2020 and some in 2021.

CCAs who achieve 70 per cent or better on this section will get 0.5 CEU in Nutrient Management and 0.5 CEU in Soil & Water Management. CCSCs will get 1 CEU in Crop Management.

Credits will be applied in either 2020 or 2021, depending on when you pass this section. For those who pass, Canola Watch will submit your name and number to the program to have the credits counted.

When writing this self-study exam, note that all answers can be found in Canola Watch articles as well as Canola Watch videos, podcasts and Canola Encyclopedia links from 2020. You can find the Issue Archives as well as the Video and Podcast libraries under the “Canola Watch” tab at the top of canolawatch.org.

For questions or additional information on this exam, please contact Jay Whetter at 807-468-4006 or whetterj@canolacouncil.org.


Fertilizer is often the largest crop input (in terms of dollars) for canola production in Canada. To maximize nutrient use efficiency and reduce unnecessary nutrient losses to the air, water and soil, Canola Watch encourages canola growers and agronomists to follow the 4Rs of nutrient management. The 4Rs are Right Source at the Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place. Fertilizer topics in Canola Watch articles, podcasts and videos always consider the 4R message, even if they don’t explicitly use “4R”. CCAs completing this section will pick up tips from 2020 experiences and enhance their approach to canola fertilizer management.

REQUIRED - Your full name:

Your CCA number: (Leave blank if not applicable)

Your CCSC number: (Leave blank if not applicable.)

REQUIRED - Email address:

Phone number:

REQUIRED - What region best describes your work territory?
1. Canola Watch had a podcast in March 2020, called “Spring options for nitrogen application”. (Find the podcasts here.) The discussion included polymer-coated ESN nitrogen fertilizer as a way to increase the safe rate of seed-placed nitrogen. But CCC agronomy specialist Warren Ward noted in the podcast that, even with ESN, the safe seed-placed rate still cannot meet crop needs. In the podcast, what does Warren suggest is the maximum safe rate for seed-placed ESN with canola?
2. An April 29 article on safe seed-placed rates of fertilizer links to a March 2020 Canola Digest article called “What should you do about phosphorus rates?”. The article talks about the steady degradation of soil phosphorus levels because of inadequate fertilizer rates. Table 1 in the Canola Digest article lists phosphorus uptake and removal by crop. How much phosphorus does canola remove per bushel of harvested crop?
3. A May article on best ways to apply macronutrients in the spring says ________ is probably the best choice for potassium (K) application in fields that need K. Fill in the blank.
4. Canola Watch had three fertilizer-themed podcasts in June 2020. In the third podcast, the one on “4R nutrient stewardship”, guests talk about the positive societal message that 4R provides for agriculture. Tom Jensen reminds farmers, agronomists and CCAs/CCSCs that 4R can sometimes be improved by combining higher-yielding canola hybrids with _______ fertilizer rates.
5. A June article on top dress tips lists a few factors that can increase nitrogen losses when nitrogen fertilizer is applied in-crop. Moisture is a major factor. Which moisture factor below would likely cause the highest amount of loss for a surface application?
6. Another June article describes the limitations of nutrient analysis based on tissue tests. The article says, “Plant and tissue analyses can supplement, but not replace, soil testing.” If tissue tests are used, which of the following is recommended?
7. The October 7 Canola Watch quiz has a “soil test” theme, showing the potential return on investment for soil tests. The Saskatchewan Crop Planning Guide for 2020 says a typical canola crop in the Black Soil Zone would get $93 per acre worth of applied fertilizer. What does the quiz suggest is the typical cost per acre to collect samples and run the tests?
8. A November article says a Fertilizer Canada survey found a strong connection between soil testing and higher yields. The survey found that 24.4 per cent of low-yield growers soil test every year. What percentage of high-yield growers soil test every year?
9. That same Canola Watch article linked to a more detailed article “Simple 4R tips to improve profitability” in Canola Digest magazine.  To limit phosphorus run-off into waterways, the article says to put phosphorus in a side band, mid-row band or in the seed row at the time of seeding. Another “Right Place” option, as noted in the basic guidelines for phosphorus, is to surface apply __________________. Fill in the blank.
10. Another November article described better choices for fall nitrogen application. Broadcasting onto snow is a bad idea, but fall is actually a 4R “Right Time” if using the right product and placement. The article recommends banding into the soil as one way to slow down the conversion of N fertilizers into ______, which is vulnerable to leaching and denitrification. Fill in the blank.