Mosaic’s Commitment to 4R Nutrient Stewardship

The Mosaic Company is the world’s leading producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients. Our products help plants grow and produce the food, fiber, and fuel the world needs for a growing population. Mosaic is also committed to protecting global water resources, which are vital to helping these crops grow and ensuring communities thrive. This commitment is part of Mosaic’s broad sustainability efforts.

Fertilizer is a vital agricultural input and investment – one that requires agronomic knowledge and careful planning. When crops grow, they absorb the nutrients in the soil, and when those crops are harvested, the nutrients go with them. Because soil fertility is not self-sustaining, nutrients, applied as fertilizer, must be added each year to ensure future crop growth. From a sustainability standpoint, an important challenge to address is nutrient runoff. When nutrients run off farmland into a waterway, they can contribute to impairing water quality and nourish algal blooms. Other sources of nutrient runoff include livestock manure, urban storm water, municipal wastewater discharge, and lawn fertilizer. It is in everyone’s best interest that nutrients are used efficiently.

Mosaic supports and promotes the 4R Nutrient Stewardship framework to achieve the agricultural benefits of fertilizer and reduce nutrient loss to the environment. To fit under the framework, crop nutrients must be applied using science-based 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices to mitigate potentially negative environmental impacts stemming from improper use. It takes testing, research, planning, measurement and collaboration to determine which nutrient management practices are most effective, adaptive and scalable.

4R Nutrient Stewardship encompasses fertilizer best management practices to achieve specific cropping system goals, including maximizing profitability and environmental protection. To achieve those goals, the 4Rs framework incorporates the Right nutrient source, at the Right rate, at the Right time, and in the Right place.


The concept of 4R Nutrient Stewardship is simple, but implementation is knowledge-intensive and varies farm by farm. Other agronomic and conservation practices, such as tillage practices and cover crops, play a valuable role in supporting nutrient stewardship. As a result, fertilizer best management practices are most effective when combined with other agronomic and conservation practices.

Mosaic is committed to nutrient stewardship, but we cannot do this important work alone. We seek partnerships with organizations that have the local relationships and knowledge necessary to advance nutrient stewardship in a way that maximizes positive impact. Because growing conditions and agricultural needs vary greatly by crop and geography, local knowledge is critical to success of these partnerships.

Since 2004, Mosaic has invested over $19 million with over 100 organizations on water-related initiatives, including nutrient stewardship. Our efforts have increased adoption of 4R practices on over 6.2 million acres in North America within the last 5 years. The resulting impact is optimizing nutrient use efficiency for maximum farmer profitability while improving water quality in agricultural landscapes.

Latest posts by Adam Herges - Sustainability Agronomist at The Mosaic Company (see all)

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