Most of the nitrogen requirements in organic farming can be met by using animal manures because they are rich in effective nitrogen. But, they are also rich in phosphorus, which is not the case for green manures. In so-called long-term rotations (>5 years) used by organic farmers, some crops, including potatoes and corn, have high nitrogen requirements. The challenge, then, is to select an optimal crop sequence and combine it with the right choice and appropriate synchronization of green and animal manure applications.
The current project follows up on an earlier 2016–2018 study conducted at the Morinal organic dairy and horticulture farm in Chaudière-Appalaches, in which different green manure and animal manure systems were compared. Along similar lines, we will compare the ability of mixed protocols using blended green manure, with or without the addition of farm manure, to satisfy the nitrogen requirements of the silage corn rotation crop, according to the following sequence: catch-crop green manure/silage corn/cereals/meadows. The two farm manures to be tested are fresh poultry droppings and cattle manure.
In addition, as an animal manure substitute, we will test “cut and carry” green manure obtained from a farmer’s pulse meadow. In 2020 we will assess the impacts of the various protocols on the growth of wheat planted as a cover crop in a pulse meadow. The first wheat cut (2021) will be assessed for its potential as a “cut and carry” green manure. Finally, this project will yield scientific and economic results over the entire 2016–2021 rotation, thus providing information on the overall impact of these practices on soil health and fertility, as well as basic knowledge that will be used to develop integrated fertilization strategies.
From 2019 to 2022
Market gardening, Field crops
This phase of an extensive six-year project will provide knowledge essential to the development of integrated fertilizer strategies for organic farmers.
Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation – Prime-Vert Program | Ferme Morinal | Réseau de lutte intégrée Bellechasse
The aim of this project was to leverage the efficiency of drip irrigation and splitting nitrogen inputs into multiple applications to reduce total nitrogen inputs per unit produced and provide better economic and environmental alternatives to conventional irrigation.
Researcher: Carl Boivin
To increase the productivity of potato production systems and preserve soil quality, we need to enhance our knowledge of interactions among biological, physical, chemical, and agronomic characteristics of cultivated soils in various environments.
Researcher: Richard Hogue
A labile carbon input would displace some phosphorus into the soil solution, thus making it available again for assimilation into growing plants.
Researcher: Christine Landry