In comparison to spring cereals, winter cereals produce higher yields and can be harvested earlier, which allows for the sowing of green manure legume crops. This means greater profitability can be achieved with both winter cereals and subsequent crops. Earlier soil cover during the spring reduces erosion risks, weed pressure, and the need for herbicide and fungicide applications. For this study, ten test sites will operate over a two-year period on farms spread over ten Québec regions (Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Mauricie, Centre-du-Québec, Montérégie Ouest, Montérégie Est, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Chaudière-Appalaches, Lanaudière, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Outaouais). The sites—some conventional and others organic—will be used to compare the performance of winter and spring cereals. In a follow-up phase, we will check to see if the greater soil cover and improved soil structure that comes with the denser root system characteristic of winter cereals result in a reduction in springtime topsoil erosion. In addition, an on-site economic analysis will be conducted to demonstrate how winter cereals are more profitable than spring cereals. On two experimental farms, during demonstration days organized for farmers, we will compare a broader selection of winter and spring cereals, and highlight some specific advantages of the former.
From 2019 to 2022
Soil health, Pest, weed, and disease control, Organic farming
Winter cereals provide a 25% to 40% boost in yields over spring cereals.
Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation – Prime-Vert Program, 10 agri-environmental advisory clubs, 10 farms from ten Québec regions
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 looks to develop decision-support tools informed by observations of “bellwether” plots and use these tools to disseminate relevant information to irrigators.
Researcher: Carl Boivin
The project was designed to assess the profitability of various types of cover crops and planting methods at the farm level.
Researcher: Luc Belzile