Nitrogen is the main nutrient requirement for corn, and in 2017, 448,000 hectares of grain corn and feed corn were planted in Québec. Current recommendations suggest a nitrogen input of 120 to 170 kg per hectare (Parent and Gagné, 2010), but the current nitrogen dose is closer to 200 kg, and even as much as 240 kg in some cases. This seemingly excessive dose can be attributed to uncertainties about the influence of a number of factors, including climate, soil moisture and drainage, hybrid requirements, crop rotations, tillage, compaction, pH, and subsoil characteristics. Models have been developed based on various parameters to determine the optimal post-emergent nitrogen dose to apply. However, these models are not wholly accurate because they do not take soil health into account. The severity of a soil’s degradation will impact its water content, microbiology, and root development. Thus, it is critical to include this factor in nitrogen management models.
From 2019 to 2023
This work will lead to a reduction in the excessive amounts of fertilizer used by some corn growers.
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.
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.
This project is to arouse interest in approaches to soil health and conservation and to promote their adoption by a greater number of Quebec field crop farmers.