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Performance of Agricultural Systems under Contrasting Growing Season Conditions in South-western Quebec.

Almaraz, J.J., Mabood, F., Zhou, X., Strachan, I.B., Ma, B.-L., and Smith, D.L. (2009). "Performance of Agricultural Systems under Contrasting Growing Season Conditions in South-western Quebec.", Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, 195(5), pp. 319-327. doi : 10.1111/j.1439-037X.2009.00369.x  Access to full text

Abstract

Climate change will alter temperature and rainfall patterns over North American agricultural regions and there will be a need to adapt crop production systems to the altered conditions. A set of field experiments were conducted in south-western Quebec, Canada, with soybean (Glycine max L.), corn (Zea mays L.), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) × sudangrass (Sorghum sudanense Piper) hybrid and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) under two tillage and three nitrogen fertility regimes, to study their performance in three successive growing seasons (2001–2003), two of them with unusually warm and dry conditions. The annual crops were established in two tillage systems: conventional and no-till (NT). All crops except soybean were fertilized with three levels of nitrogen: corn – 0, 90 and 180 kg N ha-1, sorghum-sudangrass – 0, 75 and 150 kg N ha-1, switchgrass – 0, 30 and 60 kg N ha-1. The 2001 and 2002 seasons were hotter and drier than the 2003 season, which was the most favourable for crop growth. The capacity of the crops to yield in dry seasons was as follow: switchgrass > sorghum-sudangrass > corn > soybean. The corn and sorghum-sudangrass responses to nitrogen fertilizer were low in 2001 due to the combined effect of dry growing season and coarse soil texture. Soybean did not perform well under NT. Corn yielded better at the highest nitrogen fertilizer rate under NT when the early season was warmer than the normal. Our results show that switchgrass and sorghum-sudangrass could be an option in south-western Quebec if the frequency of hot and dry seasons increase in the future, because of climate change.

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