This was a companion project to a study started in 2015 in a matted row strawberry field with a history of decline. The objective was to check whether organic matter (compost and organic fertilizer) inputs or biostimulants (compared to mineral fertilizers alone) can improve soil health and result in more vigorous plants less susceptible to decline. The initial two-year study covered the year the strawberries were planted (2015) and the first year of fruit production (2016). As funds for the initial project were limited, “classic” disease monitoring was used. However given the results in year 1 and thanks to additional funding, the second year of production (2017) was included in the study. This allowed us to test the potential effects of the treatments on soil and plant health and productivity as it enabled us to apply the biostimulants two years in a row rather than just once. The organic matter added at planting also had an additional year to interact with the soil. Compost in particular is known for its long term effect because it decomposes more slowly than organic matter that is less resistant to mineralization, such as pelleted chicken manure. The disease aspect was also studied in more depth. State-of-the-art biotech analysis tools developed and made available by IRDA’s microbial ecology lab were used to analyze the abundance and diversity of beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms on plants and in the soil in both production years. Inclusion of the second year of production also enabled a more robust and comprehensive economic analysis.
From 2017 to 2018
Soil health, Fertilizer management
This project assesses the effects of commercial products.
Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec | Réseau de lutte intégrée Bellechasse | Ferme Marivil
The project’s overall goal is to slow the arrival of Spotted Wing Drosophila in crop plots using mass trapping at overwintering sites.
Researcher: Annabelle Firlej
Exclusion nets have proven to be effective against nearly all of these insect pests, which means that it’s possible to develop apple growing practices in Québec that are not only neonicotinoid free, but also devoid of all pesticides (including acaricides, given that mite problems are a consequence of broad-spectrum insecticide use). Although the net exclusion microsystem studied in Québec since 2012 has demonstrated its effectiveness in controlling insect pests, some issues remain to be studied before it can be unreservedly recommended. Among these are the handling times for the nets, i.e., installation/removal and opening/closing, and the system’s profitability and durability over the long haul for various cultivars.
Researcher: Gérald Chouinard