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.
A literature review, a survey of organic grain producers, and an analysis of historical yield and climate data in order to document the effects of climate extremes on yields and soil nutrient availability.
Researcher: Marc-Olivier Gasser
IRDA—in its capacity as the authorized representative tasked with revising the MAPAQ fertilization reference charts—will plan, coordinate, and monitor all activities involved in updating these charts.
Researcher: Christine Landry
This project evaluated the impact of various corn, soya, and wheat fertilization methods on marketable yields, harvest quality, nitrate losses, and movement of microorganisms potentially pathogenic for humans.
Researcher: Caroline Côté