On-farm climate change adaptation measures can be excellent solutions to strengthen a farm’s resilience and inherently ensure its output sustainability. In agricultural production in Canada, additional water is critical. Climate change and greater competition from other users may result in declining water supplies in Eastern Canada (including Quebec) in the future. We focus on a Canadian case study — a farm cultivating onions in the province of Quebec — to investigate the degree to which adoption of enhanced water management practises can lead to more sustainable production. In terms of economical, social, and environmental implications, the existing technology of surface irrigation was compared to the new technology of sprinkler irrigation. By implementing such an irrigation system, the onion grower was able to boost crop yields while also lowering annual operational expenses by saving electricity and water. In addition to these accomplishments, the producer reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved nutrient utilisation efficiency. With the new technology, there were more recruited staff, but there was also more time given to managerial decision-making. From an economic sense, net present value calculations show that the new technology was desirable. The multi-criteria study revealed new information about how to increase the long-term viability of sprinkler irrigation in onion farming in Quebec. However, more effort is needed to collect knowledge on the new technology’s spillover costs or advantages to the rest of society, which could help policymakers design appropriate policies for long-term agricultural systems.
Canadian Hub for Applied and Social Research, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, S7N 5A8, Canada.