Main authors: Luuk Fleskens
iSQAPERiS Editor: Jane Brandt


 ** D8.4 draft

A great deal of soil quality monitoring is done, but there is a need for this data to be more systematically linked to Agricultural Management Practices (AMPs). Continuous information on AMPs is needed as well as widely available baseline information on soil quality for best monitoring across the EU. An urgent effort is needed to provide more systematic data and monitoring on the link between AMPs and soil quality. Such monitoring should be integrated into standard on farm reporting requirements.

Results from long-term experiments and farm surveys revealed that agricultural management practices (AMPs) such as minimum soil disturbance, organic agriculture and crop rotation positively affect soil quality, but with trade-offs between different ecosystem services. For example, reduced tillage and organic agriculture typically improve soil organic matter content, soil physical stability and soil as a habitat, but with some yield penalties [1]. Not only the quantity, but also the quality of soil organic matter (SOM) is central to the multi-functionality of soils. Diverse crops and green manures, organic amendments of different recalcitrance (manure, compost, crop residues, plant mulches) impact quality of soil organic matter.

iSQAPER has identified the most promising AMPs and their combinations that improve soil quality [2]. Combinations of two or three AMPs showed greater positive impacts on soil quality than using single applications of AMPs. More specifically, AMP – soil organic matter relationships show the potential benefit of using combinations of cover crop treatments and no-till or minimum-till to preserve or even enhance organic matter in surface soil layers. Cluster analysis showed that the most promising combinations of AMPs having a positive impact on soil quality are composed of crop rotation, mulching and minimum-till. rganic-matter amendments and organic farming were also identified as important tools to fight threats to soil quality [3].


[1] Bai, Z., Caspari, T., Gonzalez, M. R., Batjes, N. H., Mäder, P., Bünemann, E. K., … Tóth, Z. (2018). Effects of agricultural management practices on soil quality: A review of long-term experiments for Europe and China. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 265, 1–7.

[2] Alaoui et al. (2020)

[3] Bai et al, 2018.


** Further notes

There is a difference between iSQAPER's experimental work and the AMPs that are included in SQAPP. We need to bring these approaches together to provide a tool to help make the decision making easier.

  • We created a shortlist of 18 AMPs and conducted experiments on some of them to determined the impact of the AMP on soil quality
  • However the number of AMPs in SQAPP is longer
  • Good Management practices identified and promoted in the iSQAPER study sites.


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