Growing oats is an important economic activity in many of Québec’s agricultural regions. According to data from Institut de la statistique du Québec, 95,000 ha were seeded in 2012, for a total production of 220,000 tons. In 2011, oats were grown on over 4,700 farms, generating nearly $27 million in revenue. 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 from 40 to 60 kg per ha. So for example, if based on this recommendation a surplus of 10 kg N per ha had been used on 95,000 ha, nearly a million kilos of excess N would have been applied, with the associated environmental risks and economic losses. 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
Fertilizer management, Water protection, Soil health
This project will help the grain industry ensure the quality of its products.
The project was designed to assess the profitability of various types of cover crops and planting methods at the farm level.
Researcher: Luc Belzile
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
This project will develop a versatile tool that will allow to simulate the impacts of agricultural practices on soil organic matter.