The Laquerre family has been producing milk for seven generations. To ensure the land for his future grandchildren, Sylvain Laquerre, the family’s grandfather, decided in the 1980s to take an eco-responsible turn. And since then, he has never stopped innovating in order to produce milk and cereals, while protecting his land and the environment.
The Laquerres have been producing milk since 1812. “At the end of the 1980s,” explains Sylvain Laquerre, “we decided to find out about new practices when the population began to question the use of pesticides and insecticides. »With a small group of producers, he followed agricultural training in order to change his way of doing things.
For ten years, the farmer has evolved in stages by starting to plow his land less, to then use less polluting tools and completely stop working the soil in 2006. Plowing helps aerate the soil and accelerates the decomposition of the soil. organic matter. Thus, the following year, the land is often more fertile. On the other hand, CO 2 escapes from the ground and is found in the air, in addition to the greenhouse gas emissions produced by the tractor. Not plowing allows fertilizers to accumulate to keep the land fertile for longer, explains the farmer. To help his crops, Sylvain Laquerre compensates with earthworms which will naturally decompose the manure instead.
Sylvain Laquerre, from Sylvain Laquerre farm in Saint-Casimir
600 trees for a wildlife corridor
Last year, Sylvain Laquerre and his sons planted 600 trees on their land to create a wildlife corridor. According to the farmer, in addition to absorbing carbon dioxide, the trees serve as shelters for the birds which will take care of eating the insects in the fields. Thanks to the birds, the producer hardly uses pesticides anymore. Trees also cut the wind, which prevents erosion and allows snow to accumulate on the land longer, which further protects it from freezes. Plant rotation and intercropping, the aim of which is to grow different plants in a field in order to prevent the growth of weeds, are also part of the farmer’s initiatives.
“For me, saving the environment is just as important as the well-being of animals,” he says. His cows are notably free to go outside the barn as they see fit. In addition to securing a future for his children, environmental initiatives have enabled the farmer to save a lot of money. Sylvain Laquerre estimates that he saves at least $ 20,000 a year in fuel, simply by having stopped plowing. In addition, the producer offers a more balanced diet to his cows, which allows them to emit 20% less methane into the air.
The Sylvain Laquerre farm in brief
Year of foundation: 1812
Number of cows and calves for milk production: 180
Number of liters of milk produced per year: 1.2 million
Number of tonnes of grain produced per year: 400