Unpredictable weather impacting N.B. soil: researcher
Unpredictable weather is having an impact on Canadian crop producers, but researchers say New Brunswick, in particular, is taking a hard hit.
Agriculture scientist Louis-Pierre Comeau says its important research, right at your feet, but getting to it can be difficult.
“Here in the region, soil is very shallow, with a lot of rocks, little bit of clay, lots of slopes, prone to erosion."
Comeau has been analyzing different soils around the world. He says based on his research, New Brunswick has some of the most challenging soil for agriculture.
Farmer Mike Slocum says he can attest to the challenges.
“You have to feed your crop differently through the season because the capacity of the soil the nutrients aren’t always there like they are in other parts of Canada,” Slocum says.
Slocum says he used to fertilize his crops once a year, but now it’s several times throughout the season.
“It's a challenge, last year we had a really hot dry summer ... with no moisture ... lots of sunshine but we didn't have any moisture,” he says.
Slocum says farmers are already starting to feel the effects of climate change with extreme rains and droughts adding to the problem.
Comeau estimates $3 billion dollars is lost every year in Canada from decreasing soil health.
Now, he’s investigating ways to replenish the soil’s quality and reduce erosion.
“It’s possible to control erosion… it’s highly needed in the region,” he says.
In an effort to improve soil health and the economy Comeau is also working with farmers to introduce more nitrogen fixing crops such as soy beans.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mary Cranston