May 6, 2022
Céréales Bellevue, a local agricultural company that respects the environment
By: Alexandre Brouillard
Recognized for their ecological and ecological farming practices, brothers Paul and Pierre Caplette have been adopting balanced agriculture for several years on their farm, Céréales Bellevue, located in Saint-Robert.
In the early 2000s, as an ecological awareness was gradually emerging in the farming community, Paul and Pierre Caplette questioned their own farming practices.
“We’ve always had the environment at heart, but we could do better, admits Paul Caplette. Our children would come home from school and ask us if our agricultural practices were polluting. It is, therefore, our children’s questions that drive us to do better in terms of the environment. »
Since then, the two brothers have been on a mission to optimize their resources with hybrid agricultural techniques that guarantee soil biodiversity. Cover crops combined with the direct seeding technique allowed them to considerably reduce the use of fertilizers and improve the level of organic matter in their soils. Thus, Céréales Bellevue is recognized as a select producer of seed grains, whether wheat, soy or corn.
Since 2006, they have reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 33%, the use of pesticides by 30% and, since 2012, they have stopped using insecticides. Also, during this period of time, their incomes in the fields increased.
“We are not reinventing the wheel. We’re back to basic techniques, such as crop rotation in the fields. If we adopt a balanced agriculture and pay attention to our amounts of pesticides, it makes a big difference. In the long term, adapting to the environment becomes profitable”, assures Paul Caplette.
In recent years, Paul and Pierre Caplette have launched several projects to make their company greener.
Like other farmers located on the shores of Lake Saint-Pierre, the two entrepreneurs created several riverside strips that act as a buffer zone between the fields and the waterways. While the standards call for three meters of riparian strips, they did even better at up to eight meters in places.
In addition, thanks to their agro-environmental techniques, they have reduced the use of their machines. Thus, they spend less on fuel and produce less GHG emissions. “During this period, it is the worms that are working. With us, they manufacture 400 tons of soil daily without any fuel. So, when you cut back on crops, you send less waste to waterways, you have more resilient soil and you increase the population of microorganisms”, explains Paul Caplette.
Since 2017, the two farmers have been working to install swallow nesting boxes in their fields to ensure greater biodiversity. “We have reached 65 nesting boxes that can accommodate up to 80 swallows. One of these birds can eat up to 3,000 insects a day. It’s not revenue in my numbers column, but we see the changes in the fields,” says Paul Caplette.
“Like everyone else, we want our children to have a good life. That’s why we put all these efforts. They bring us economic, agronomic and environmental benefits”, says the farmer.
Efforts recognized by peers
In recent years, the Caplette family’s ecological efforts have been recognized many times by various agricultural organizations.
Last April, during the most recent edition of the Gala Agristars de la Montérégie, they received the Bon coup en agroenvironnement – Outstanding company award.
Then, in December 2021, the Federation of the Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA) Montérégie and Desjardins highlighted the quality of the sustainable development work carried out by Céréales Bellevue with the agrEAUresponsable grant.
“We are happy to receive congratulations from time to time, admits Paul Caplette. This encourages us to keep going because we put a lot of energy into our projects. »
In 2022, Paul and Pierre Caplette will continue to work together with Agriculture Canada on an innovation project to filter and sediment drainage water.
“The project is in the first year of its implementation. When we come out of the data, innovation and agricultural engineering will have taken 10 years”, concludes Paul Caplette, as he confides that he has several projects in mind to be in perfect balance with his environment.