The Red Book

Impact of macronutrients on crop responses and environmental sustainability on the Canadian Prairies


The Canadian Society of Soil Science published the ‘Red Book’ in 1992.  The authors –western Canada’s leading soil scientists – reviewed fertility research stretching back to the early 1900s.  The Red Book documents the impact of N, P, K, and S research on crop productivity and environmental sustainability.

One of the goals of the Red Book, like that of Canadian Agronomist, was to help move new technology and knowledge from researcher to agronomist to farmer. While fertility research has continued to build on these previous findings, the Red Book is still a valuable document for agronomists and farmers today – Read it!

You can download the entire Red Book or individual chapters from the links below.



Table of Contents with abstracts of chapters

Chapter 1; Balance of Nutrient Inputs (fertilizers) and Exports (grain) in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan

Chapter 2: The Changing Fertility of Prairie Soils

Chapter 3: Nitrogen Use Efficiency

Chapter 4: Phosphorus

Chapter 5: Potassium

Chapter 6: Sulphur

Chapter 7: Fertilizer N Application Practices

Chapter 8: Trends in Available Soil N, P, K and S

Chapter 9: The Role of Fertilizer Nutrients in Rebuilding Soil Organic Matter

Chapter 10: Fertilizer of Forage Crops and Rangeland

Chapter 11:  Soil Microorganisms: Key Players in Crop Nutrition on the Prairies

Chapter 12: Crop Nutrients and the Environment

Download the full book


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Northern Great Plains 4R Fertilizer P Management

In 2019, Dr. Cindy Grant (AAFC retired) and Dr. Don Flaten (U of M) completed a review of the 4R principles for phosphorus management. With input from a technical advisory panel of western Canadian soil scientists, the document updates the Red Book chapter on P. This new review of P fertilizer research on the Northern Great Plains encourages agronomists and farmers to implement the 4Rs of nutrient management using ‘right’ source, rate, placement and timing of P fertilization. Find it on Canadian Agronomist here.

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