Mitigating Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and Increasing Carbon Sequestration in a Circular Economy


McGill's Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is pleased to host Mitigating Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and Increasing Carbon Sequestration in a Circular Economy--an international symposium held under the auspices of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program II.

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10:00 – 10:10 AM EST Opening remarks and Introduction by Professor Chandra A. Madramootoo, Bioresource Engineering, McGill University
10:10 – 10:15 AM EST Welcome remarks: Dr Michael Hawes, President and CEO, Fulbright Canada
10:15 – 10:30 AM EST Keynote Speech: Professor Rattan Lal, Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science,
Director, CFAES Rattan Lal Center for Carbon Management and Sequestration , The Ohio State University. Recipient of the World Food Prize, 2020
10:30 – 10:50 AM EST Feature Presentation: Dr. Tim Searchinger, Senior Fellow and Technical Director, Food program, World Resource Institute, Washington DC.
Curtailing Greenhouse Gas Emissions for a Sustainable Food Supply
10:50 – 11:00 AM EST Open Discussion
11:00 – 11:10 AM EST - BREAK
Panel Discussions  
  Assessment and Modelling of Ecosystem Dynamics Framing Approaches to Greenhouse Gas Reductions in a Circular Economy
  11:10 – 11:50 AM EST 12:00 – 12:30 PM EST
Panel Chair Ralf Kiese, Professor Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany Brent Swallow, Professor University of Alberta
Panel Rapporteur Genevieve Grenon, McGill University Ashley Macdonald, Dalhousie University
  The role of rhizodeposits in microbial respiration of greenhouse gases - Aidan De Sena, McGill Univ. Development of sensor systems for in-situ measurement of soil CO2 dynamics - Viacheslav I. Adamchuk, McGill Univ.
  Modeling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in dairy farms under different water and forage management systems: A case in Nova Scotia, Canada - Chanuka Swarnathilake, Dalhousie Univ. Economic analysis of yield estimation under future climate change scenarios in Quebec and Ontario: DSSAT model approach - Latif Mohammad, Univ, Saskatchewan
  Greenhouse gas emissions from frozen agricultural soils - Kosoluchukwu Ekwunife, McGill Univ. Economic analysis of water management technology in Eastern Canada - Mariela Marmanillo, Univ. Saskatchewan
  Plausible spring nitrous oxide emissions under climate change in southern Quebec, Canada | Presentation - Chih-Yu Hung , McGill Univ. Identifying cost-competitive greenhouse gas mitigation potential for Canadian grain Production - Mfon Essien, McGill Univ.
  Mitigating agricultural greenhouse gas emissions through nature-based solutions and artificial intelligence - Naeem Abbasi, McGill Univ. Co-benefits evaluation and policy implication from the adoption of innovative Agricultural water management: a case study of corn agroecosystem in eastern Canada - Ran Sun, Univ. Saskatchewan
  Global warming potential of water management practices for intensive crop production under a changing climate - Qianjing Jiang, McGill Univ.  
11:50 AM – 12:00 PM EST - BREAK
12:30 – 12:50 PM EST Open Discussion and key take away messages
12:50 – 1:00 PM EST Symposium Wrap – up and closing remarks Professor Chandra Madramootoo

The AGGP II Project, An Integrated Socio-economic and Biophysical Framework for Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions under Agricultural Water Management Systems in Eastern Canada, aimed to identify, develop and disseminate information for beneficial water management practices which simultaneously reduces GHG emissions, increases agricultural productivity and produces environmental co-benefits.

Some Findings

This project set out to develop 8 new BMPs and innovative methodologies and developed 12. The project successfully demonstrated 9 technologies/information products to crop growers. Over 200 agricultural producers participated in technology transfer events. Some 55 journal publications were produced by the researchers and at least 20 presentations were made to stakeholders.
Some specific results from this project are:

a) Controlled drainage (CD) produces profit via yield increases at the farm level. CD can be classified as a climate smart technology and decision makers should continue to work with the research community and crop growers to further promote adoption. We showed that CD & optimum fertilizer application reduced N2O emissions by over 45% compared to conventional drainage, and CD alone reduced CO2 emissions by 6% compared to conventional drainage.

b) Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) sequestration rates are projected to be −1.0 Mg ha−1 each year from 2038 to 2070 under CD, which was 22% lower than baseline. The removal of carbon from atmospheric CO2 into SOC pools by C sequestration through crop growth is an important process that reduces the net global warming potential.

c) A method was developed to label root exudates of ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) with both 13C and 15N. This method is being applied to understand which microorganisms are metabolizing these substrates, producing greenhouse gases, and increase our understanding of soil C and N dynamics.

d) Fertilizer management: Fertilizer application is recommended 4 weeks after planting rather than 6 weeks (the traditional practice). Also, there should be a lag of 2 – 3 days after precipitation before applying fertilizer to reduce GHG emissions.

e) A two-node, low-cost prototype wireless sensor network for measuring CO2 flux was developed and tested, and is now being scaled up for large scale commercial farms.

f) Corn-soybean rotation reduced CO2 and N2O emission by 18.8% and 20.7% when compared with continuous cropping of corn. Corn-soybean rotation improves crop yields and sequesters carbon compared to continuous corn cropping.

g) Six shallow data-driven Machine learning (ML) algorithms were developed and tested for predicting CO2 and N2O emissions. The ML models were compared to biophysical models, RZWQM2 and DNDC . The predictive performances of ML models proved to be an effective and efficient alternative to mechanistic models. It is promising modelling framework to scale up emissions from farm level to regional scale.

h) An economic analysis showed that CD produced over 3% higher crop yields compared to conventional tile drainage (TD). The Net Present Value (NPV) of CD was C $546 ha-1 and C $968 ha-1 (2015) at a 5% discount rate over 20 years in Quebec and Ontario respectively. Additionally, CD has substantial social benefits because it reduces GHG emissions and nitrate leaching. Hence, there is a need for public financial assistance to encourage adoption.

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