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.
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 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.
The project evaluated and compared the effectiveness of two types of subsoil plows (mounted on a bulldozer or a tractor) operated parallel and perpendicular to the tile drains to improve soil drainage conditions and productivity compared to control plots.
Researcher: Marc-Olivier Gasser