Centre's raison d'être
This site provides environmental conditions that are representative of the most intensive horticultural and field crop production areas in the region, yet it is in a semi-urban area, with ready access to two major highways and public transit. The facility is thus ideally situated to serve a large pool of researchers in agricultural science, environmental science, plant biology and engineering. This infrastructure consists of research land, buildings and specialized equipment. Recent renovations and equipment purchases have been designed specifically to improve our capacity to host a larger number of external users. The equipment includes a global positioning system (GPS), a no-till seeder, plot combine, forage harvester, tractors, trucks, a near-infrared reflectance instrument and a photosynthesis system. The GIS database of the facility includes grid soil sampling for nutrient levels, weed survey, topographic survey, and geo-referenced mapping of field layouts and buildings. The facility also has access to data on air pollutants and maintains continuous monitoring of air and soil temperatures, relative humidity etc.
The main areas of research conducted at the centre are
- Plant genomics and breeding
- The centre is used by a cultivar development program (cereals) and for the scientific evaluation of new and established cultivars (cereals, soybean, forage crops, vegetable crops). Our centre is essential for the development of materials for research on plant genomics and for phenotyping of these materials for plant productivity traits, disease responses and end-use quality traits.
- Greenhouse gases and climate change
- Users of our facilities are actively engaged in research on greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural sources and on the effects of climate change on crop production. Current research includes monitoring a long-term field site under different tillage practices for the carbon sink capacity of the soil, nitrous oxide emissions and soil respiration.
- Water resources
- Research is conducted on the water savings and efficiencies of different irrigation systems for horticultural crops. The results of this research will be especially important as climate change forces the use of low-quality water for irrigation.
- Precision agriculture
- An interdisciplinary and interuniversity team uses our facilities for field experiments designed to examine the link between precision agriculture and remote sensing. The field trials are used to evaluate airborne sensors and ground spectral measurements in order to study crop response under various stresses (moisture, weed, and nitrogen).
- Nutrient cycling in agro-ecosystem
- Research in this area includes investigation of how earthworms and soil microbial communities affect crop productivity and development of best management practices for animal manure, especially with regards to phosphorus accumulation in agricultural soils.
- Crop physiology
- Areas of particular interest include molecular signaling within crop plants (salicylates), CO2 uptake and photosynthesis, biomass production and physiological responses of horticultural crops to production practices especially plasticulture and fertigation.
- Plant-microbe interactions
- On-going research is examining the symbioses of legume crops (soybean, forage legumes) with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, plant growth promoting rhizobacteria and other aspects of rhizosphere biology and ecology. Bioherbicides are being developed for environmentally sound control of major weeds in urban and rural areas.
Emile A. Lods Agronomy Research Centre
20965 chemin Ste-Marie
Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue (Québec) H9X 3Y7
See location in Google map