Improve the productivity and survival of switchgrass in the long term to make producers' investment profitable and promote its use on fallow and marginal lands

Marc-Olivier Gasser, researcher

Marc-Olivier Gasser

Researcher, agr., Ph.D.

418 643-2380
ext 650

Contact Marc-Olivier Gasser
Catherine Bossé, Project Manager – Pedology

Catherine Bossé

Project Manager – Pedology, agr.

418 643-2380
ext 405

Contact Catherine Bossé

Jean-Benoît Mathieu, M. Sc.

Contact Jean-Benoît Mathieu, M. Sc.

Description

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) can produce significant quantities of straw biomass on marginal lands for several years with low inputs. Its productivity can, however, be limited by both climate and soil conditions, such as drainage, water retention, depth of rock, presence of hardened layers, acidity and natural fertility. Producers have reported that areas of mortality can appear within a field, and that some fields show signs of degeneration of the switchgrass cover after only 3 to 7 years of production. The limitations presented in soil maps in marginal lands are poorly taken into account in switchgrass cultivation budgets and can greatly affect profitability.

The project therefore aims to better understand the factors limiting the longevity and productivity of switchgrass on marginal lands in the different regions of Quebec and to formulate recommendations to ensure this productivity, if not inform the producer about the limits of their investment. Producers growing switchgrass in Quebec will be invited to provide information on their fields in an interactive platform allowing them to compare the productivity of their crop to the regional average considering the soil and climatic conditions specific to their fields. At the same time, a sampling campaign as well as soil profiles will be carried out on a dozen producer sites to clarify the effects of these limiting factors on productivity.

Objective(s)

  • Raise the limiting conditions that could affect the cultivation of switchgrass by an inventory of fields cultivated with switchgrass in Quebec;
  • Investigate among producers the conditions limiting the productivity and longevity of switchgrass on marginal lands;
  • Define the productivity potential of switchgrass on marginal lands and report the causes of decline associated with soil limitations;
  • Develop tools to inform producers about the land improvements to be made and the return on investment of these improvements.

From 2024 to 2026

Project duration

Field crops

Activity areas

Canada Land Inventory, Inventory of Québec agricultural soil degradation problems, Soil surveys

Services

Partners

CÉROM (Centre de recherche sur les grains) / CECPA (Centre d’études sur les coûts de production en agriculture) / FADQ (Financière agricole du Québec) / CQPF (Conseil québécois des plantes fourragères) / MSF (Mon Système Fourrager) / MAPAQ (Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec) / AAC (Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada)

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