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Chairholder Profile

Jean Caron

Jean Caron

Faculty of agricultural and food sciences
Université Laval

Chair Title

NSERC-Hortau industrial research chair in precision irrigation

Chair Program

Industrial Research Chairs Program


Senior Chairholder since 2011


The NSERC/Hortau Industrial Research Chair in Precision Irrigation project involves two broad areas of research. The first focuses on establishing relationships between measured soil parameters—such as soil-moisture tension, aeration and electrical conductivity—and plant growth and activity, in order to regulate irrigation. The second focuses on gradually incorporating these parameters in a comprehensive irrigation method to optimize performance while reducing the environmental impact of irrigation. The two research crops, cranberries and strawberries, are very important to the Canadian economy.

The work will begin in a greenhouse and growth chambers, where performance can be assessed under varying conditions. The models will then be exposed to various types of climate environments in the field. The industrial partner is Hortau, a Canadian company specializing in precision irrigation measuring and monitoring instruments. Along with the NSERC, Hortau will be investing several million dollars in basic research in precision irrigation. The knowledge gained from the Chair program will improve agronomic performance, generate better use of water and pumping energy, and reduce groundwater pollution. It will enable the Chairholder, and the other professor recruited for the research program, to focus their activities on water conservation—a critical sector for future agricultural development in Canada. With this knowledge, the Canadian company Hortau will be able to enhance its special expertise in real-time information management in irrigation systems. The Chair will help train highly qualified graduate and undergraduate students and increase strawberry and cranberry productivity. It will also create jobs within the company that funds the Chair.

Lastly, as a result of the very nature of the projects supported, the Chair will give national and international visibility (immediate and long-term) to the Université Laval's research on precision irrigation and water conservation. The Chairholder is Jean Caron, an experienced agronomist specializing in water and gas movements in soil, the recipient of a number of technology innovation awards, and the author of numerous scientific publications.


  • Hortau

Contact Information

Faculty of agricultural and food sciences
Université Laval
Pavillon Paul-Comtois, Office 1104
2425 De l’Agriculture Street
Québec, Québec
G1V 0A6

Tel.: 418-656-2131
Fax: 418-656-3723

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