L'conservation agricultureputs the needs of the soil in the foreground in order to be able to produce more using fewer resources. THEadvantagesof theconservative agricultural techniquesthey would seem multiple.
The objectives of conservation agriculture are:
- Increase irrigation efficiency.
- Improve the yield of fertilization with a thoughtful use of livestock manure.
- To employ, in a targeted way, i phytosanitary products for the control of diseases and weeds.
- Improve the yield of the soil.
- Restrict i environmental risks due to the leaching of nitrates, erosion and surface runoff.
- Prevent and / or limit the loss of biodiversity.
- Progressively reduce soil tillage with consequent savings on fuel and CO2 emissions related to machinery.
- Improve the adaptation of crops toclimate changes.
L'conservation agriculturecan be seen asa middlebetween conventional agriculture and organic agriculture. If in the first the only purpose is to maximize production, while in organic farming strict bans are imposed, with conservative agriculture a middle ground is sought that can maximize yield while minimizing the exploitation of resources.
A more innovative and technological form of agriculture is also moving in the same direction as conservative agriculture, theprecision agriculture.
Conservative agriculture in Italy
Campania, Puglia, Veneto ... there are many Italian regions where this agricultural approach is practiced:conservation agriculture in Italy it is a reality that wants to consolidate. Between the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, a tender was launched which provided for the distribution of 480 million euros (RDP funds) and involved 15 regions and more than 330,000 hectares of land.
InItaly there is no shortage of different application projects to compare the yields and techniques ofconservation agriculturewith the yields and techniques ofconventional agriculture. Among the various projects we point out "HelpSoil" with actions that affect the Po Valley and many hilly areas of the Apennine and Alpine margins. The HelpSoil project involves 20 farms.
Not only Northern Italy, theconservation agricultureis at ease in Italy: in Lazio there is no shortage of individual farm projects such as "La Castelluccia" which, since 2008, withsod seeding techniquemanages to produce cereals on 1,500 hectares.
Conservation agriculture: techniques
L'conservation agriculturemakes use of many traditional techniques even if the aim is to make the soil independent and self-fertile, reducing the tillage and above all reducing the tillering to a minimum.
There is talk of "reduced tillage" starting from the management of the land: plowing, inconservation agriculture it is seen as a non-essential operation because it is energy consuming and expensive from every point of view.
Therereduced machiningallows you to prepare the soil without plowing. The soil is worked at a depth not exceeding 15 cm (with plowing it was up to 40 cm). In this context, theagricultural machineryused must not be moved by power take-offs or hydraulically.
Othersconservation farming techniquesfor soil management:
Agricultural technique that allows the soil to be worked at a depth of 5-8 cm. Also in this case the machines are less energy-intensive and above all less invasive for the soil. The agricultural machinery used are equipped with vertical discs without inclinations with respect to the direction of advance so as not to lift and mix the soil.
Soil tillage in bands with a maximum width of 15-20 cm and with a depth not exceeding 15 cm. The worked bands are used for the new sowing. The unprocessed bands remain covered with crop residues. This technique lends itself well to the cultivation of different cereals, especially corn that needsplant spacingwith spacing of 70-75 cm. Same goes with soy and sorghum.
It aims to rebalance the elements of the soil. No Trillage or No-Till means "non-processing" is also spoken ofsowing on firm groundor direct sowing. Worldwide it is used on 120 million hectares which represent 10% of cultivated land.
Then there are two othersconservation farming techniquescalled "Decompaction" (agricultural machinery must have anchors that can work the soil up to 35-40 cm. This is only a rescue operation, to be performed occasionally, only in case of extreme necessity.
Therecover Corp techniqueit can be described as a green fertilization or green manure. It is in factroofingto be included in the rotation between one main crop and another. The cultivated species protect the soil and are not destined for harvest but left in the field.
Conservation agriculture and precision agriculture
L'precision agriculture sees techniques perfectly compatible with theconservation agriculture. For example, in some techniques such as Strip Trillage, precision satellite guidance can bring major improvements to agricultural practice. Similarly, many techniques of biological agriculture can be incorporated intoconservation agriculture as, in both practices, natural agronomic fertility is placed in the foreground.