Mervin St. Luce, Ph.D.

Research Scientist

My research program aims to enhance agricultural productivity through the development of sustainable and resilient cropping systems, development of best management practices to improve soil health and nutrient use efficiency, particularly nitrogen, and the development of science-based decision support tools.

Current research and/or projects

  • Improving nitrogen use efficiency and soil sustainability in canola production across Canada.

  • Optimizing systems productivity, resilience and sustainability in the major Canadian ecozones.

  • Identifying agronomic and environmental benefits/drawbacks of diverse crops in cereal/canola/pulse crop rotations on the semi-arid Canadian prairies.

  • Use of legume crops to enhance N use efficiency, carbon sequestration, soil health and soil biodiversity in three ecoregions chosen to represent the different climatic conditions of Canada.

  • Old plots, new hypotheses: Toward a revitalized AAFC long-term agroecosystem (LTAE) network.

  • Diversified cropping systems strategies to improve sustainability and organic crop production in the Brown soil zone.

  • Understanding the role of the soil microbiome in promoting resilient and sustainable agroecosystems.

  • Inferring the influence of agricultural management and other human activities on soil constituents relevant to soil health and function.

Professional activities / interests

  • Scientific research

Education and awards

  • B.Sc. (Hons.) General Agriculture, The University of the West Indies, 2003
  • M.Phil. Soil Science, The University of the West Indies, 2010
  • Ph.D. Soil Science, McGill University, 2013

Key publications

  1. 2022. Kubota, H., Liu, K., Tedla, H.A., Curtis, T., Entz, M., Khakbazan, M., Larney, F., Lemke, R., Lupwayi, N., Kapiniak, A., Peng, G., Ramirez, G.H., Semach, G., St.Luce, M., Strydhorst, S., Tidemann, B., Gan, Y. Evaluating cropping systems for productivity, sustainability, and resilience in Northern Alberta. 2022 Beaverlodge Research Farm Spring Seminars held using MS Teams on April 1, 2022, and organized by J. Otani at Beaverlodge, Alberta.

    2022 - View publication details

  2. Fan, J., McConkey, B.G., St. Luce, M., Brandt, K. (2020). Rotational benefit of pulse crop with no-till increase over time in a semiarid climate. European Journal of Agronomy, [online] 121

    2020 - View publication details

  3. Smith, W., Grant, B., Qi, Z., He, W., Qian, B., Jing, Q., VanderZaag, A., Drury, C.F., St. Luce, M., Wagner-Riddle, C. (2020). Towards an improved methodology for modelling climate change impacts on cropping systems in cool climates. Science of the Total Environment, [online] 728

    2020 - View publication details

  4. Smith, W., B. Grant, Z. Qi, W. He, B. Qian, Q. Jing, A. VanderZaag, C.F. Drury, M. St Luce, and Claudia Wagner-Riddlee. Towards an improved methodology for modelling climate change impacts on cropping systems. The 54th Congress of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS), Virtual session, May 27, 2020.

    2020 - View publication details

  5. St. Luce, M., Lemke, R., Gan, Y., McConkey, B., May, W., Campbell, C., Zentner, R., Wang, H., Kroebel, R., Fernandez, M., Brandt, K. (2020). Diversifying cropping systems enhances productivity, stability, and nitrogen use efficiency. Agronomy Journal, [online] 112(3), 1517-1536.

    2020 - View publication details

  6. Wood, S., Seguin, P., Tremblay, G.F., Bélanger, G., Lajeunesse, J., Martel, H., Berthiaume, R., St. Luce, M., Claessens, A. (2019). Predicting pre-harvest forage nutritive value of spring and summer growth of alfalfa–grass mixtures. Agronomy Journal, [online] 111(6), 3172-3181.

    2019 - View publication details

  7. Maillard, É., McConkey, B.G., St. Luce, M., Angers, D.A., Fan, J. (2018). Crop rotation, tillage system, and precipitation regime effects on soil carbon stocks over 1 to 30 years in Saskatchewan, Canada. Soil & Tillage Research, [online] 177 97-104.

    2018 - View publication details

  8. Khakbazan, M., Grant, C.A., Huang, J., Zhong, C., Smith, E.G., O’Donovan, J.T., Mohz, R.M., Blackshaw, R.E., Harker, K.N., Lafond, G.P., Johnson, E.N., May, W.E., Turkington, T.K., Gan, Y., Lupwayi, N.Z., St. Luce, M. (2018). Economic impact of residual Nitrogen and preceding crops on wheat and canola, 110(1), 339-348.

    2018 - View publication details

  9. St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Gagnon, B., Lévesque, V. (2017). Prediction of total carbon, total nitrogen, and pH of organic materials using visible near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, [online] 98(1), 175-179.

    2017 - View publication details

  10. St. Luce, M., Gouveia, G.G., Eudoxie, G.D. (2017). Comparative effects of food processing liquid slurry and inorganic fertilizers on tanner grass (Brachiaria arrecta) pasture: grass yield, crude protein and P levels and residual soil N and P. Grass and Forage Science, [online] 72(3), 401-413.

    2017 - View publication details

  11. St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Gagnon, B., Karam, A. (2017). Visible near infrared reflectance spectroscopy prediction of soil heavy metal concentrations in paper mill biosolid- and liming by-product-amended agricultural soils. Geoderma, [online] 288 23-36.

    2017 - View publication details

  12. Grant, C.A., O'Donovan, J.T., Blackshaw, R.E., Harker, K.N., Johnson, E.N., Gan, Y., Lafond, G.P., May, W.E., Turkington, T.K., Lupwayi, N.Z., McLaren, D.L., Zebarth, B., Khakbazan, M., St. Luce, M., Ramnarine, R. (2016). Residual effects of preceding crops and nitrogen fertilizer on yield and crop and soil N dynamics of spring wheat and canola in varying environments on the Canadian prairies, 192 86-102.

    2016 - View publication details

  13. St. Luce, M., Grant, C.A., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J., O'Donovan, J.T., Blackshaw, R.E., Harker, K.N., Johnson, E.N., Gan, Y., Lafond, G.P., May, W.E., Malhi, S.S., Turkington, T.K., Lupwayi, N.Z., McLaren, D.L. (2016). Preceding crops and nitrogen fertilization influence soil nitrogen cycling in no-till canola and wheat cropping systems, 191 20-32.

    2016 - View publication details

  14. St. Luce, M., Whalen, J.K., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J. (2016). Net nitrogen mineralization enhanced with the addition of nitrogen-rich particulate organic matter. Geoderma, [online] 262 112-118.

    2016 - View publication details

  15. Cambouris, A.N., St. Luce, M., Zebarth, B.J., Ziadi, N., Grant, C.A., Perron, I. (2016). Potato response to nitrogen sources and rates in an irrigated sandy soil. Agronomy Journal, [online] 108(1), 391-401.

    2016 - View publication details

  16. St. Luce, M., Grant, C.A., Zebarth, B.J., Ziadi, N., O'Donovan, J.T., Blackshaw, R.E., Harker, K.N., Johnson, E.N., Gan, Y., Lafond, G.P., May, W.E., Khakbazan, M., Smith, E.G. (2015). Legumes can reduce economic optimum nitrogen rates and increase yields in a wheat-canola cropping sequence in western canada, 179 12-25.

    2015 - View publication details

  17. St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J., Grant, C.A., Tremblay, G.F., Gregorich, E.G. (2014). Rapid determination of soil organic matter quality indicators using visible near infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Geoderma, [online] 232-234 449-458.

    2014 - View publication details

  18. Cambouris, A.N., St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J. (2014). Soil– and plant-based indices in potato production in response to polymer–coated urea. Agronomy Journal, [online] 106(6), 2125-2136.

    2014 - View publication details

  19. St. Luce, M., Whalen, J.K., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J., Chantigny, M.H. (2014). Labile organic nitrogen transformations in clay and sandy-loam soils amended with 15N-labelled faba bean and wheat residues. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, [online] 68 208-218.

    2014 - View publication details

  20. St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J., Whalen, J.K., Grant, C.A., Gregorich, E.G., Lafond, G.P., Blackshaw, R.E., Johnson, E.N., O'Donovan, J.T., Harker, K.N. (2013). Particulate organic matter and soil mineral nitrogen concentrations are good predictors of the soil nitrogen supply to canola following legume and non-legume crops in western Canada, 93(5), 607-620.

    2013 - View publication details

Research facility

1 Airport Road
Swift Current, SK S9H 3X2


  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Soil Science, University of Saskatchewan
  • Member, Canadian Society of Agronomy
  • Member, Canadian Society of Soil Science
  • Member, Soil Science Society of America
  • Member, American Society of Agronomy