Uncategorised

AMP15 03

Vegetation management practices are used to maintain a vegetation cover on cultivated soils for most of the year, renew pasture in grazing lands, provide protection to the soil and other crops from wind and water, control pests and diseases and enhance the soil structure. They address the soil threats of erosion, compaction and poor structure, poor water holding capacity and organic matter decline.

SQAPP includes 97 examples of the world-wide use of the following vegetation management practices.

»Vegetation cover

  • Permanent green cover in orchards
  • Cover crops
  • Grassland renewal
  • Rangeland rehabilitation

»Fallow management

  • Planted fallow

»Vegetation bands

  • Vegetative strips
  • Riparian buffer zones and filter strips
  • Shelterbelts
  • Semi-natural landscape elements
  • Strip cropping

»Crop choice

  • Deep rooted crops
  • Intercropping
  • Growing halophytes

»Crop rotation/diversification

  • Crop rotation/diversification
  • Herb-rich grassland

»Multi-layered vegetation

  • Agroforestry
  • Silvopasture

 

 AMP01 05

Terrain management practices are principally used to reduce the slope of agricultural land in order to create plots that can be more easily cultivated, reducing water flow over the soil surface and thereby preventing erosion and enhancing infiltration.

SQAPP includes 35 examples of the world-wide use of the following agricultural managment practices.

»Cross slope barriers

  • Bunds
  • Trenches and infiltration ditches
  • Terraces
  • Trashlines

»Runoff control

  • Half-moon terraces
  • Gully rehabilitation

 

AMP15 03

Soil management practices are principally used to protect and enhance the soil composition and structure thereby addressing the threats of erosion, compaction, poor water holding capacity and organic matter decline. They are also used to reduce extreme alkalinity or acidity.

SQAPP includes 51 examples of the world-wide use of the following soil managment practices.

»Tillage

  • No tillage
  • Minimum tillage
  • Contour ploughing
  • Strip tillage
  • Subsoiling
  • Roughening the soil surface
  • Raised beds

»Traffic management

  • Avoidance of traffic
  • Controlled traffic
  • Respect wheel load carrying capacity

»Soil replacement

  • Claying soils
  • Adding sand

»Soil amendments

  • Soil conditioners
  • Liming
  • Alkalinity management
  • Straw interlayer burial

 

In each of the study sites the iSQAPER team, together with local farmers or land users, identified the main agricultural management practices used locally. The practices vary according to the climatic zone, soil type and crop produced. Some of them were conventional and designed to maximise yield while other innovative* practices were being used with the explicit purpose of also benefitting or improving soil quality. In the European study sites the most common innovative practices were: manuring & composting, crop rotation and minimum tillage. The most common in China were: manuring & composting, residue maintenance/mulching and integrated pest and disease management (incl. organic agriculture). For more details see: »Impact of promising land managment practices

In two separate field campaigns we compared the effects of the innovative to the conventional practices by assessing soil quality of 132 pairs of neighbouring fields. For more details of the visual assessment methods see: »Visual soil and plant quality assessment

Of the original 132, one or two practices per country were identified as having the best proven effectiveness on improving soil quality in that location. Many of these practices are described in the leaflets below which explain the

  • principles of the practice,
  • the soil threat it is designed to address,
  • the scientific evidence for its effectiveness.

*Note: The use of the word innovative to describe some of these practices may look odd; in the history of agriculture crop rotation and manuring are hardly new. However within the context of iSQAPER's study sites these practices represent an improvement over conventional practice and are generally not widely applied in area.


Study site 1: De Peel, Netherlands

video 04 screenshot sq

Non-inversion tillage on sandy soils in the Netherlands

Non-inversion tillage causes less disturbance to the soil, resulting in better structure and more organic matter and soil life in the top soil. It has shown positive effects on the structure of clay soils but hasn't been tested intensively on sandy soils.

Study site 3: Cértima, Portugal

video 04 screenshot sq

Sewage sludge from domestic waste water treatment in a maize farm

The incorporation of sludge into the soil (as part of a circular economy) increases organic matter content, improving structure and nutrient content. However, long-term application increases the amounts of heavy metals and other trace elements in the soil. Understanding the behaviour of these elements is important to support effective management practices that mitigate contamination.
»PT version

Study site 4: Southeast Spain

video 04 screenshot sq

Minimum tillage, permanent soil cover and manure application

Minimum tillage protects the soil from erosion and compaction. Allowing crop residues to remain on the soil and applying additional manure increases the organic matter content and protects the soil.
»ES version

Study site 5: Crete, Greece

video 04 screenshot sq

Extensive sustainable grazing

Extensive sustainable grazing is based on a stable animal density below or equal to the sustainable stocking rate. Extensive grazing protects the land from erosion by maintaining a vegetation cover above 40-50%, the threshold below which accelerated erosion occurs.

video 04 screenshot sq

Minimum and no tillage

Minimum and no tillage belong to the conservation tillage production system where soil cultivation is kept to the minimum necessary for crop establishment and growth. Under olive groves in Crete both minimum and no tillage can decrease soil disturbance, runoff and soil loss and improve soil water conservation, aggregate stability and water infiltration.

Study site 6: Ljubljana, Slovenia

video 04 screenshot sq

Organic farming, broad rotation and organic manure

Using an organic farming system with a five year crop rotation cycle, nitrogen is supplied to the soil by organic fertiliser (from livestock) or by using legumes. Nutrient cycling is kept to a maximum within the farm. The use of chisel ploughs and hoes causes less frequent turning of the soil and maintains a continuous soil cover.
»SI version

Study site 7: Zala County, Hungary

video 04 screenshot sq

Farmyard manure application

Matured farmyard manure (from cattle, pigs and horses) is applied every 3 years, before maize in the crop rotation. Storing the manure reduces weed infestation and burying it immediately after spreading avoids nutrient loss. The manure application results in higher soil organic carbon and microbial biomass.

Study site 8: Braila County, Romania

video 04 screenshot sq

Water management in arable lands

Sustainable irrigation water management involving irrigation scheduling and technology improves water use efficiency and, in combination with other environmentally friendly technologies, increases soil quality.
»RO version

Study site 10: Tartuuma, Estonia

video 04 screenshot sq

Otsekülv (direct seeding)

Using direct seeding crops are grown from year to year without cultivating the soil. Seeds are injected into the soil beneath the residue of the previous crop without loosening the soil structure. Direct seeding is considered to be environmentally friendly because in general less fuel is used and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. However, there is a risk that costs pesticides increase as ploughing and tillage help to reduce weeds and the spread of pests. (in Estonian)

Study sites 11 and 14: Qiyang and Gongzhuling, China

video 04 screenshot sq

Crop rotation, fertilization and green manure

Agricultural measures such as the combined application of organic and inorganic fertilizers, green manure, crop rotation and straw return are in line with Chinese national "weight loss and efficiency" principles and can improve fertility while maintaining foor production.
»CN version

Study site 12: Suining, China

video 04 screenshot sq

Straw mulching and no tillage

The return of straw to the soil surface as a mulch after harvest combined with no tillage is a popular practice in Sichuan. Both measures are aimed at better soil regeneration and conditions for agriculture, increased yield and less soil degradation.
»CN version

 

Go To Top