Greenhouse gases (GHGs), including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), absorb radiation from the sun and trap heat in the atmosphere, effectively acting like a greenhouse or a layer of insulation for Earth. In Canada, 10% of GHG emissions are from crop and livestock production, excluding emissions from the use of fossil fuels or from fertilizer production. In Prince Edward Island, this number increases to 23% of GHG emissions. Of these emissions, crop production represents the primary source of GHG emissions, largely from nitrous oxide emissions arising from use of synthetic fertilizers, and CO2 release from tillage operations. While crop production is a source of GHG emissions, there are effective strategies to reduce emissions without adversely impacting farm profits. Furthermore, cropland is a potential sink for carbon dioxide, in the form of soil organic matter.
What Will I Learn?
By the end of this training, learners will develop farm-specific strategies for a crop production operation that reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon sequestration.
The assessment for this microcredential will require learners to build upon the strategies developed in the Climate Smart Agriculture Fundamentals microcredential with strategies specific to a crop production operation, including:
- Refine Climate Smart crop agricultural goals for their own operation;
- Justify the choice of farm-specific strategies to reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon sequestration, using research and best practices;
- Develop an implementation plan for chosen strategies.
In order to develop competency, learners will:
Observe current and emerging practices;
Examine best management practices, including:
- Tillage management strategies to reduce carbon loss from soils.
- 4R Nutrient management strategy (particularly for nitrogen):
- Right Source of Nitrogen (especially enhanced efficiency fertilizers)
- Right rate of use: Variable rate applications, based on high-resolution soil testing in the field (yield mapping, yield management plans).
- Right timing (split application, slow-release formulations)
- Right placement (banding, incorporation methods)
- Pest Management.
Select strategies that align with their operation’s goals; anticipate the impact of implementing chosen strategies; measure the success of strategies.