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Canadian journal of Soil Sciences
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 89  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 133 - 144

Integrating knowledge of nutrient forms and dynamics into improved nutrient management practices: A tribute to Regis Simard

Cynthia Grant, Noura Ziadi, Bernard Gagnon, Don Flaten and Jeff Schoenau    

Abstract:  Régis Simard and his colleagues developed a research program focussing on the agronomic and environmental impacts of nutrients in agricultural systems. The success of this program resulted from an integrated approach, linking assessment of nutrient availability to an understanding of nutrient dynamics in the soil, and applying this understanding to development of improved management practices for a variety of nutrient sources. Research into nutrient availability conducted by Régis and his co-workers led to improvements in quantification of nutrient supply, using traditional soil analysis with batch chemical extraction as well as ionic exchange membranes (IEMs) and electro-ultrafiltration (EUF). Ion exchange membranes are now used as a tool in routine soil fertility assessments and in agronomic and environmental research to study nutrient ion release rates. Additionally, intensive analytical techniques, such as sequential extraction and X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) were developed and used to characterize the forms and relative availability of soil nutrients for plant uptake or environmental effects. Characterization of nutrient pools improved understanding of nutrient dynamics in the soil, allowing a more accurate assessment of the agronomic value and environmental risk of nutrients applied to agricultural systems. Building on this knowledge, Régis and his colleagues developed improved methods of utilizing manures, composts, paper mill sludge (PMS) and liming by-products, effectively diverting nutrients from the waste stream into a resource for crop production. This paper describes the contributions of Régis and his colleagues to the improvement of agronomically and environmentally sustainable nutrient management practices, based on an integrated research approach that provided a clear understanding nutrient availability and soil nutrient dynamics.

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