Agronomic, environmental, physical, chemical, and biological parameters are the main parameters used to determine soil health and agrosystem sustainability. However, the biological parameters that currently used are not accurate enough. Recent advances in biological and genomic analysis techniques have improved the affordability of detailed structural and functional characterizations of numerous biological communities that play essential roles in soil health and agroecosystem sustainability. The 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. The project was a major innovation that enhanced our knowledge of factors that disrupt cropping programs and farming practices in Québec grain crops.
From 2016 to 2018
DNA sequencing can be used to inventory all the organisms living in a soil sample.
Centre de recherche sur les grains | Université Laval | Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada | Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec | Growing Forward 2 : Innov’Action programme
Canola and wheat (wheat-corn-canola rotation) were planted in 2016 and 2017, respectively, on 12 experimental plots with tillage practices on the main plots (minimum tillage and chisel plow) and fertilization methods (mineral fertilizers, 25 m3/ha of pig manure and 50 m3/ha of pig manure) in the subplots.
To provide information on the fertilizing value and environmental impact of spreading pig manure at different times, the project compared the effect of mineral fertilizer in early fall, late fall, and in the spring.
The Rivière de la Roche sub-watershed has one of the highest phosphorus and sediment export rates of the entire Missisquoi Bay watershed—a particularly challenging situation for the local agricultural sector.