BC Ministry of Agriculture

Abbotsford, Canada

BC Ministry of Agriculture

Abbotsford, Canada
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Neilsen D.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Smith S.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Van Der Gulik T.,BC Ministry of Agriculture | Taylor B.,Environment Canada | Cannon A.,Environment Canada
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

To identify agricultural water requirements and the potential for water conservation, we have developed a GIS based model to estimate water demand based on crop type, seasonal crop development, and spatial distribution. Multiple data layers characterize topography, surface and subsurface hydrology, crop distribution, irrigation management, soils, and a range of geographic and political boundaries. The model is driven 500×500 m gridded climate data for the years 1960-2006 and future climate data sets downscaled from GCM output (12 scenarios) from 1961-2100. These climate surfaces have been used to provide calculations of Penman Monteith reference evapotranspiration and a range of agroclimatic indices for each climate grid cell, in addition to crop and terrain based irrigation water demand. Sample scenarios of changing climate, expanded agriculture, and urbanization demonstrate the usefulness of this type of modeling for regional water planning.


Neilsen D.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Neilsen G.H.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Smith S.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Losso I.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | And 3 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2013

Potential effects of climate change on agriculture have been better documented for agronomic than for horticultural crops. Yet, perennial horticultural crops must withstand year-round, climate-related biotic and abiotic stresses and often require high economic outlay for establishment rendering producers vulnerable to failure. Previously, research focused on assessing the effects of changing temperatures and precipitation on a large scale-continental or even global. More recently, the emphasis has changed to examining effects at the regional scale, which is more appropriate for both producers and regional planning. Gradual climate change is expected to affect the geographic range of crops, pests and diseases. However, the suitability of specific location for crops will be determined by the frequency of extreme events (e.g. droughts, low and high temperatures) and variability in growing conditions, both of which are expected to increase in response to global warming. Assessing the risks associated with climate change, variability and extreme events requires both the development of models for horticultural production systems that are responsive to climate variables at an appropriate temporal and spatial scale and also knowledge of the threshold conditions which limit crop success. Examples of approaches for assessing the effects of climate change on crop suitability and water resources and to the development of tools to assist adaptation are given. Building resilience may lie in careful assessment of crop suitability or designing new crops and management practices to withstand climate extremes. Equally important is communicating this knowledge to producers, planners and policy makers. This is particularly the case with respect to the preservation of land and water resources which will be required in the future to meet global food requirements.


PubMed | BC Ministry of Agriculture, ECOMatters Inc. and Agriculture and Agri Food Canada
Type: | Journal: Journal of environmental management | Year: 2016

Excess phosphorus (P) in peri-urban regions is an emerging issue, whereas there is global depletion of quality mined supplies of P. The flow of P across the landscape leading to regional surpluses and deficits is not well understood. We computed a regional P budget with internal P flows in a fairly discreet peri-urban region (Lower Fraser Valley, BC) with closely juxtaposed agricultural and non-agricultural urban ecosystems, in order to clarify the relationship between food production, food consumption and other activities involving use of P (e.g. keeping pets and horses and using soaps). We hypothesized changes that might notably improve P efficiency in peri-urban settings and wider regions. Livestock feed for the dairy and poultry sectors was the largest influx of P: the peri-urban land is too limited to grow feed grains and they are imported from outside the region. Fertilizer and import of food were the next largest influxes of P and a similar amount of P flows as food from the agricultural to urban ecosystems. Export of horticultural crops (berries and greenhouse crops) and poultry represented agricultural effluxes that partially offset the influxes. P efficiency was lower for horticultural production (21%) than animal production (32%), the latter benefited from importing feed crops, suggesting a regional advantage for animal products. There was 2.0, 3.8, 5.7 and 5.6 tonnes imported P per $ million farm cash receipts for horticulture, dairy, poultry meat and eggs. Eliminating fertilizer for corn and grass would reduce the ratio for the dairy industry. The net influx, dominated by fertilizer, animal feed and food was 8470 tonnes P per year or 3.2kgP per person per year, and of this the addition to agricultural soils was 3650 tonnes P. The efflux in sewage effluent to the sea was 1150 tonnes P and exported sewage solids was 450 tonnes P. Municipal solid waste disposal was most difficult to quantify and was about 1800 tonnes P, 80% of which was partly reused in the urban regions and partly sequestered in landfill, which may be considered an efflux or a surplus. Reuse of rendering waste for feeding poultry significantly reduced P importation, but no rendering waste is used for cattle due to health concerns. Sensitivity analysis showed that variation in human population and the amount of P consumed per person in chicken and dairy products had the most influence on the total movement of P from agricultural to urban-ecosystems. There are current farm practices that mitigate P surpluses and new technologies are being developed to further reduce farm imbalances. However, current waste management policies that promote practices such composting of home wastes and exporting of poultry manure and biosolids to semiarid rangeland do little to enhance overall P cycling because the P is not returned to the farms producing feed and food for the peri-urban region. Sequestering in landfills may be a better solution until better ways are found to return surplus P.


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