Measuring the impact of winter vs. spring cereals on profitability, soil health, and pesticide use

Marc-Olivier Gasser, researcher

Marc-Olivier Gasser

Researcher

418 643-2380
ext 650

Contact Marc-Olivier Gasser
Caroline Côté, researcher

Caroline Côté

Researcher

450 653-7368
ext 310

Contact Caroline Côté
Luc Belzile, researcher

Luc Belzile

Project manager

418 643-2380
ext 630

Contact Luc Belzile

Description

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.

Objective(s)

  • Promote the planting of winter cereals by farmers in ten Québec agricultural regions by demonstrating productivity and economic gains, soil health benefits, and reduced weed pressure and pesticide use.

From 2019 to 2022

Project duration

Field crops

Activity areas

Soil health, Pest, weed, and disease control, Organic farming

Services

Winter cereals provide a 25% to 40% boost in yields over spring cereals.

Partners

Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation – Prime-Vert Program, 10 agri-environmental advisory clubs, 10 farms from ten Québec regions 

This may interest you

Organic corn
2015-2018 • Field crops

Developing a nitrogen fertilization program based on green manure supplemented by a manure-based starter fertilizer in organic grain production

In a wheat/grain corn/soya rotation, green manure can be used to obtain profitable organic grain corn yields while limiting phosphorus pollution.

Researcher: Christine Landry

Read more about the project

Christine Landry
Narrow organic field crops
2019-2023 • Field cropsMarket gardening

Developing a mechanical weeding strategy for narrow-row organic field and vegetable crops

Experimenting narrow-row crop weed control strategy on three crops: green beans, peas, and soybeans.

Researcher: Maryse Leblanc

Read more about the project

Maryse Leblanc
Thistle
2014-2017 • Field crops

Vegetative propagation and regenerative capacity of Canada thistle and sow thistle under organic management

The purpose of this project was to study the vegetative propagation and regeneration capacity of Canada thistle and sow thistle with a view to developing effective weed control strategies.

Researcher: Maryse Leblanc

Read more about the project

Maryse Leblanc