|Responsible partner:||»Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (IAES)|
|Authors:||Endla Reintam, Alar Astover, Aret Vooremäe|
|iSQAPERiS editor:||Jane Brandt|
|1. Infographics and videos|
|2. Study site description|
|3. Participation of stakeholders in the iSQAPER research programme|
|4. Research tasks|
|5. Long-term impact of iSQAPER's research programme in the study site|
Please correct the translation: Tartumaa õppekoha meeskond tegi lühikese video ja infograafika, et kirjeldada piirkonna muldasid ja maakasutust ning seda, kuidas mitmed kohapeal kasutatavad majandamisviisid mulla kvaliteeti mõjutavad.
A series of short videos and infographics were made by the Tartumaa study site team to describe the soils and land use in the area and the way in which a number of locally used management practices benefit soil quality.
Please correct the translations
»Tartumaa õppekoht, Eesti
»Tartumaa study site, Estonia
Eesti mullad seisavad silmitsi paljude lagunemisprobleemidega, sealhulgas toitainete tasakaalustamata kasutamise, orgaaniliste ainete lagunemise, tihenemise, erosiooni ja hapestumisega.
»Soils in Estonia
|»Minimaalne maaharimine, EE
Minimaalset (või vähendatud) maaharimist on nüüd Eestis laialdaselt praktiseeritud. Sobivate külvikordade ajal suudab see säilitada pinnase struktuuri, parandada vee infiltratsiooni ja vähendada tihenemist, kütuse- ja tööjõukulusid.
»Minimum tillage, EE
Kasvatamata tehnoloogia peamised eelised on lühem tööaeg, kütusekulud ja tootmiskulud, aga ka parem mullastruktuur. Võrreldes minimaalse ja tavapärase maaharimisega on aga pestitsiidide, kahjurite ja haiguste suurem kasutamine.
Eestis on intensiivselt juhitud segafarmid, mis on keskendunud piimatootmisele ja taimekasvatusele, kuid on ka läänerannikul ja saartel paiknevaid alternatiivseid ja mahepõllundusettevõtteid, millel on pinnase kvaliteedile erinev mõju.
»Land use in Estonia
Kesk- ja Lõuna-Eestis, kus asub iSQAPERi uuringupaik, on peamised mullatüübid Luvisols. Nende muldade lagunemisohud hõlmavad toitainete tasakaalustamata kasutamist, orgaaniliste ainete lagunemist, tihenemist, erosiooni ja hapestumist.
»Soils of Estonia
|»Põllumajandussõbralik majandamine Eestis - vähendatud maaharimine
Vähendatud (minimaalne) maaharimine on maaharimisviis, mis ei pööra mulda ümber; tavaliselt kallutatakse ainult mullapinna ülemist 10–18 cm. Eestis rakendati seda tehnoloogiat vähem kui 10 aastat tagasi ja juba 2/3 teraviljast kasvatatakse minimaalse maaharimise tehnoloogia abil.
»Agricultural friendly management in Estonia - reduced tillage
|»Eestis harimatut põllumajandust
Põllukultuuride kasvatamine (mida nimetatakse ka nullharimiseks või otsekülviks) on viis kultuuride või karjamaa kasvatamiseks aastast aastasse, mullaharimise kaudu mulda häirimata.
»No-till farming in Estonia
Please edit this section: update and add a few photos
Estonia is situated north-east of Europe located between 57°30′34″N to 59°49′12″N and from 21°45′ 49″E to 28°12′44″E. It is bounded on the north by the Gulf of Finland (an inlet of the Baltic Sea), on the east by Russia, on the south by Latvia, and on the west by the Baltic Sea (Figure 16). The mean air temperature in Estonia is +4.5–6.0°C, mean annual precipitation 600–700 mm and the vegetative period generally lasts for 170–185 days. The climate is Nemorial to Boreal. The amount of precipitation is more than two times higher than evapotranspiration. Snow cover is characterized by large spatial and temporal variations (75-135 days: from the beginning of January to the end of March). Estonian climatic conditions are favourable for mobilization of humus intensive biological weathering and turnover of substances in the plant–soil system.
Main farming systems and typical agricultural management activities in the study area
According to the FADN report (2012), on average 39% of the utilized agricultural area was under forage crops, 37% was used for the production of cereals, 10% was occupied by oilseed crops and 4% by other field crops, while 10% of the total land use was left fallow (Figure 17). More intensively managed farms can be found in Central Estonia (dairy and cereal) and alternative and organic farms can be found more on the west coast of Estonia and the Islands. There are mainly mixed types of farms in the study area, where the main income comes from animal husbandry and crop production. However, dairy farming or crop production specialized farms dominate, which can be both organically and intensively managed, are evident as well. Grasslands are mainly fertilized with slurry and mineral fertilizers in big farms and not fertilized at all in some small farms. The cutting intensity is on average 3 cuts per season. Crop rotations are based mainly on cereals (spring- and winter wheat, barley, oat), oil rape and red clover timothy mixture. Soil tillage is a mixture of conventional plough and reduced chisel-based; precision agriculture techniques are used.
Characteristic soils and soil quality monitoring practice
The soils are highly variable and are impacted by their parent material, texture, water regime and types. In Central and Southern Estonia where the study area is located, the main soil types are Luvisols with variable texture and calcareousness (Reintam et al., 2001). Grasslands are locating mainly on gleyic soils and Gleysols. The dominant soil texture is sandy loam.
There are 30 permanent agricultural soil survey points in Estonia, where the following measures are repeated at 5 yearly intervals:
- From the humus horizon: depth (cm), pHKCl, P, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Mn, B (mg/kg), humus (%), C-org by Dumas (dry combustion), dry bulk density (g/cm3) and porosity (pF1.8), estimation of compactness.
- From the soil pits: horizons, their thickness (depth, cm), pHKCl, P, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Mn, B (mg/kg), total-N (%), humus (%), C-org Dumas method (dry combustion), texture.
From 5 to 6 survey points per year, pesticide residues, heavy metals (Cd, Pb, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Zn) and soil biota (earthworms abundance, mass, species; microbial mass and respiration) are surveyed.
Previous research and innovation actions on soil improvement and monitoring
Current applied research in agriculture (financed by Estonian Ministry of Agriculture) in Estonia include:
- Conventional and organic management effect on soil fertility;
- Effect of intensity of tillage on slurry fertilized soils;
- Green manure plants effect on soil in conventional and organic farming;
- Alternative fertilisers use in conventional and organic farming;
- Use of soil map applications in agriculture;
- Bio waste compost use in agriculture;
- Development of humus balance model;
- Implementation of soil maps and databases for sustainable land use and agricultural production;
- Optimized habitat specific fertilization with plant nutrients according to the environment sensitivity by implementing electronic soil databases.
Since 2008, the soil compaction survey restarted in Estonia on 15 fields (repeated in 2013), where the typical parameters such as bulk density and texture, and the content of air filled pores at pF1.8 was measured.
Please complete this table following the example in »Study site 6
The local stakeholders listed in Table 1 were involved throughout the duration of iSQAPER in a number of research tasks including: providing experimental sites for the soil quality assessment and agricultural management practice evaluation; testing and evaluating SQAPP; attending demonstration workshops; (and providing venues for and hosting the field visits for the iSQAPER plenary meeting).
Table 1: Local stakeholders involved in the iSQAPER research programme
|Stakeholder type||Locations||Institution||Number and gender M/F||Role|
|Farmers, land managers|
I have pre-filled some of the text for you taking material from the deliverables. So you can orientate yourself, I've indicated in blue which tasks each sub-section relates to. Please feel free to expand the text as necessary (and also include photos).
Soil quality assessment and agricultural management practice evaluation
Covering: Tasks 5.2, 5.3, 6.1, 6.3
Based on WOCAT database (www.wocat.net), iSQAPER selected 18 promising agricultural management practices (AMPs) with potential to improve soil quality (»Agricultural management practices in the iSQAPER study sites). Fourteen examples of a number of these AMPs were identified in the Tartumaa study site that conformed to the following criteria:
- the promising management practice has been implemented for at least 3 years;
- at least 2 different soil types are represented; and
- at least in 2 different first level Farming Systems (arable, permanent, grazing) are represented.
For each AMP plot, nearby control plots were also identified where the practice has not changed.
Table 2: AMPs identified in the Tartumaa study site. Climatic region: Boreal to sub-boreal
|Plot number||Farming system||Farming system detail||Soil type||AMP general description||AMP number*|
|10.1||Pasture||Intensive||Luvisols||Manuring & composting; Change of land use practices / intensity level||7-18|
|10.2||Pasture||Intensive||Luvisols||Permanent soil cover / Removing less vegetation cover||3|
|10.3||Pasture||Intensive||Luvisols||Permanent soil cover / Removing less vegetation cover; Manuring & composting||3-7|
|10.4||Arable||Permanently irrigated land - Cereals||Luvisols||Permanent soil cover / Removing less vegetation cover; Manuring & composting||3-7|
|10.5||Pasture||Intensive||Luvisols||Permanent soil cover / Removing less vegetation cover; Manuring & composting||3-7|
|10.6||Arable||Permanently irrigated land - Cereals||Luvisols||Manuring & composting; Crop rotation / Control or change of species composition||7-9|
|10.7||Arable||Permanently irrigated land - Cereals||Cambisols||Min-till; Crop rotation / Control or change of species composition||2-9|
|10.8||Arable||Permanently irrigated land - Cereals||Gleysols||Min-till||2|
|10.9||Arable||Permanently irrigated land - Cereals||Luvisols||Min-till||2|
|10.10||Arable||Permanently irrigated land - Cereals||Luvisols||Min-till ; Crop rotation / Control or change of species composition||2-9|
|10.11||Arable||Permanently irrigated land - Cereals||Luvisols||No-till||1|
|10.12||Pasture||Intensive||Histosols||Permanent soil cover / Removing less vegetation cover||3|
|10.13||Pasture||Extensive||Histosols||Permanent soil cover / Removing less vegetation cover||3|
|10.14||Arable||Non- irrigated land - Cereals||Luvisols||No-till ; Crop rotation / Control or change of species composition||1-9|
*Note: see »Assessing effect of management practices on soil quality - experimental framework for the full list and descriptions of the 18 promising agricultural management practices.
A first field campaign was conducted in 2016 to evaluate the soil quality in each of the paired AMP-control plots, using visual soil assessment methods (»Visual soil and plant quality assesment). The results from this and all the other study sites were combined to determine which AMPs can be shown to have a proven positive effect on soil quality, see »Assessing effect of management practices on soil quality - experimental results.
Those practices that are innovative for Estonia were also described and added to the WOCAT database
- »No-tillage [Estonia]
- »Reduced tillage [Estonia]
- »Permanent grassland on peaty and eroded soils [Estonia]
The soil assessment campaign was repeated in 2018 on the two paired plots highlighted in green in Table 2 (10.12: Permanent soil cover / Removing less vegetation cover and 10.14: No-till; Crop rotation / Control or change of species composition) with laboratory-based measurements added to the visual soil assessments. The aim was to investigate
- how measurements of soil quality parameters obtained from the visual assessments compared to those obtained from laboratory measurements;
- if different AMPs affected different soil quality parameters in different ways;
- and what impact the AMPs had on the principal soil threats.
For details of the assessment analysis methods and the results from this and all study sites see »Impact of promising agricultural management practices.
As a result of this extended analysis, the example of No-till/ Crop rotation / Control or change of species composition that was exemplified in Plot 10.14 (which combined no-till with a different crop rotation including permanent cover and legumes in the rotation) was finally selected to demonstrate the positive impact management practice can have on soil quality (see »Demonstrations of recommended agricultural management practices in the study sites).
This practice addresses soil compaction. The VSA results show a lower soil stability under the AMP but a better earthworm count and soil colour (and probably a better mottle score). All other soil structure quality indicators were the same as the control (which was conventially tilled with a different crop rotation). Measured bulk density is a little higher under the AMP but that does not seem to be directly tied to a loss of soil structure quality. Other measured properties show minimal differences from the control.
SQAPP development, testing and evaluation
Covering: Tasks 5.1, 4.3, 4.4, 6.2, 6.4
The beta version of SQAPP was evaluated by stakeholders at 3 locations in Estonia. Participants were asked a series of questions relating to their expectations of SQAPP and the relevance of the soil parameters included in SQAPP, the assessment of soil threats and the suitability of the app's recommendations to their local context. The feedback and comments were combined with those from the other study sites and used in the further development of SQAPP. For details of the responses from all study sites see »Stakeholder feedback and SQAPP development.
Covering: Task 6.4
On 13 September 2019 a demonstration event was organised in the village of Meeri in Tartu county to present the major findings of iSQAPER to stakeholders and to demonstrate no tillage and direct seeding as a management practice of proven benefit to soil quality. The event was attended by 72 participants.
The results from this demonstration event and those held in the other study sites are summarised in »Demonstrations of recommended agricultural management practices in the study sites.
A leaflet describing no tillage and direct seeding was prepared to accompany the demonstrations.
Co-development of scenarios of future farm and soil management practices
Did you attend the workshop? If not, delete this section.
Members of the Tartumaa study site team attended and contributed to the workshop in Madrid on developing scenarios of future farming. The results are presented in »Soil management scenarios.
Please complete this table following the example in »Study site 6
Taking account discussions with the stakeholders and feedback from the various research tasks and events in which they took part, it is anticipated that the iSQAPER research programme could have a lasting legacy in the Tartumaa study site as indicated in Table 3.
Table 3: Activities in which iSQAPER's research programme could potentially have a lasting impact in the Tartumaa study site
|Activity||Impact level: 0 - no impact, 1 - barely noticeable to 5 - important visible impact|
|Research results influencing farming practice|
|Uptake of recommended AMPs|
|Regular use of SQAPP|
|Development of new or enhancement of existing stakeholder networks|
|The involvement of new stakeholder types in existing networks|