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 hypothesis was that it should be possible to measure sap flow in apple trees and correlate it with soil water conditions and the weather.
Researcher: Carl Boivin
Validation and adaptation of pest and disease monitoring and decision support tools.
Researcher: Annabelle Firlej
This project seeks to reduce the use of chemical insecticides in orchards by controlling apple maggot populations using mass trapping.
Researcher: Daniel Cormier