AgWeather Quebec: For better agricultural decision making
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Agricultural farm productivity and environmental performance are closely linked to the decisions made from seeding to harvest. The AgWeather Quebec (AQ) website is a new agricultural management tool producers can count on. Using the site’s weather and climate information (maps, graphs, models, agro-climate indices, real-time data, forecasts), which is adapted to their needs, producers can make informed decisions to improve their farm’s productivity and environmental footprint.
"AgWeather Quebec provides weather information that is tailored to the agricultural sector. It is an essential tool to support decision making and ensure better management of pests, inputs, production, risks and climate variability."
- René Audet, Agrometeorologist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
AQ is the result of a collaboration between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), the Quebec Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Solutions Mesonet and Environment Canada. Since 2006, AAFC has been responsible for the development work necessary to create and implement a number of AQ management tools. Below are two examples.
For optimal management of crop pests and disease
Controlling insect pests and disease is essential for sufficient production of quality produce, but it does have an impact on the environment. With AQ, producers can find information that is essential in determining the best time to intervene to protect their crops. More than 40 bioclimatic models from the Computer Centre for Agricultural Pest Forecasting (CIPRA) can be found on the site, and about 50 other models will eventually be added.
One way these models help producers succeed is by helping them to more accurately determine the best time to apply pesticides to their fields. This way, they can reduce the number of applications necessary, save on the cost of inputs (pesticides, fungicides, etc.) and reduce the amount left behind in the environment.
For better planning of hay harvesting
Using AQ, hay producers can consult the graphics and indices to help them determine the best time for the first cut to ensure optimal forage quality and yield. In addition to observations in the fields, this information makes it possible to better assess the maturity of forages, such as alfalfa and timothy. The management tool provides information for a specific area, including: the accumulated degree-days since the beginning of the season, accumulated degree-days since the last summer crop harvest (to assess the risks of a final cut in the fall) and a forage drying index, i.e., the estimated drying time after a cutting, given the weather conditions.
AQ is a concrete example of AAFC’s scientific involvement in the development of agricultural management tools, procedures and models. Inspired by the initial pilot project, the initiative has expanded to the Atlantic region where the AgWeather Atlantic site has been available since 2011.
Key discoveries (benefits)
- AAFC has been involved in the development of the AQ site since 2006. A number of Department experts have contributed to the development and implementation of high-quality agricultural management tools aimed at helping producers make the best decisions possible for their farm’s economic and environmental performance.
- AQ provides dozens of bioclimatic models that help producers determine the best time to apply inputs to their fields (pesticides fungicides, etc.), depending on the specific climate conditions in their area. These models can also reduce the number of applications necessary, as well as the amount left behind in the environment.
- Hay producers can consult AQ to obtain additional data to determine the best time for the first cut in order to achieve optimal forage quality and yield.
- AgWeather Quebec
- Computer Centre for Agricultural Pest Forecasting (CIPRA)
- Quebec Research and Development Centre
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