Growing barley is an important economic activity in many of Québec’s agricultural regions. According to data from Institut de la statistique du Québec, 73,000 ha were seeded in 2012, for a total production of 234,000 tons. In 2011, barley was grown on 3,175 farms, generating over $18 million in revenues. Therefore using fertilization charts that recommend doses that exceed the crop’s actual needs and the capacities of receiving environments to absorb them could cause serious agronomic and environmental impacts. So it was of some concern that the fertilization chart in Québec’s fertilization guide had been developed over the course of thirty years in cooperation with industry stakeholders and recommendations for the three main elements had not recently been tested in scientific field trials. In the case of nitrogen, recommendations varied significantly from 40 to 80 kg per ha. So for example, if based on this recommendation a surplus of 20 kg N per ha had been used on 73,000 ha, 1.5 million kilos of excess N would have been applied, with the associated environmental risks and economic loss. Therefore recommended doses of N, P, and K needed to be questioned, especially since cultural practices and fertilizers had changed since these doses were established. The grain industry needed more information on these recommendations given contemporary sustainable development objectives. Due to a lack of information, fertilization programs were not consistent among Québec producers, who did not necessarily consult the same information sources.
From 2013 to 2017
Soil health, Water protection, Fertilizer management
This project will help the grain industry ensure the quality of its products.
Clubs conseils en agroenvironnement | Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec
A literature review, a survey of organic grain producers, and an analysis of historical yield and climate data in order to document the effects of climate extremes on yields and soil nutrient availability.
Researcher: Marc-Olivier Gasser
This project was aimed at identifying and incorporating biological indicators into decision support tools used to assist producers and agroenvironmental regulatory bodies seeking to preserve soil productivity and use sustainable production systems.
Researcher: Richard Hogue
Economic analysis of a three-year project aimed at testing methods of reducing and correcting surface soil compaction.
Researcher: Luc Belzile