A study on the health of agricultural soils in Quebec

Marc-Olivier Gasser, researcher

Marc-Olivier Gasser

Researcher

418 643-2380
ext 650

Contact Marc-Olivier Gasser
Claude Bernard, associate researcher

Claude Bernard

Associate Researcher

418 643-2380
ext 406

Contact Claude Bernard

Description

A number of studies, as well as comments from regional extension agents and producers, indicate that the soil on Québec farms has deteriorated. Since the inventory on soil degradation was released in 1990, no studies have been done that can give us an idea of the current state of Québec’s agricultural soils.

MAPAQ therefore wishes to examine and document current soil conditions to guide its actions and help it set priorities.

The project consists of evaluating soil degradation based on representative samples taken in Québec’s main soil regions and parent materials. Seventy-one series, including the most commonly cultivated soils, are being replicated six times, for a total of 426 plots. Pedological, biological, physical, and chemical properties of the soils are being examined and compared to those of soils that have not been disturbed or degraded. As far as possible, the same sites as in the 1990 inventory are being used in order to evaluate changes in soil health since that time.

Objective(s)

  • Collect quantitative data on the condition of the main series of cultivated soils in Québec
  • When possible, sample the same plots as in the 1990 inventory to document changes
  • Interpret and determine the condition of the soil on undisturbed reference sites based on yield and/or other recognized criteria
  • Assess the scale and origin of the types of degradation for each group of soil series
  • Establish links between cropping practices, soil health, and soil productivity
  • Recommend conservation practices and soil management methods to help MAPAQ develop and implement a strategy for improving the condition of degraded soils in Québec
  • Widely disseminate the results and recommendations from the study to educate producers on the importance of preserving soil health
  • Recommend a followup method and frequency to monitor changes in soil health on the sampled sites

From 2017 to 2022

Project duration

Field crops, Fruit production, Market gardening

Activity areas

Soil health, Laboratory analyzes, Ecosystem protection

Services

This major project will help ensure soil productivity, while maintaining the many functions of soil required for a healthy ecosystem.

Partner

Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec

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