Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Alternative agricultural practices combine productivity and soil health

27.07.2009
The progressive degradation of useful soils for agriculture and farm animal husbandry is a growing environmental and social problem, given that it endangers the food safety of an increasing world population.

This fact prompted the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development – Neiker-Tecnalia – to design a series of research projects in order to evaluate alternative agricultural practices, as a function of their capacity to combine the productivity of crops with the health of the soil.

Conclusions of great interest for the agricultural and animal husbandry sector were drawn from the studies. Neiker-Tecnalia was able to show that, on extensive mountain pastures, lime sand and wood ash are a viable alternative to quicklime as a liming material. In moderate doses, both products slightly correct the acidity of soils and, at the same time, produce a balanced increase in their short-term biological activity, as well as an increase in the productivity and the nutritive value of the pasture. Besides this, no significant changes were observed in the floristic composition of the pastures one year after the application of these liming materials

In the case of intensive crop rotation at lowlands, it was observed that the use of cattle slurry as organic fertiliser, the use of the non-tillage (direct sowing) technique and the incorporation of legumes as winter crops enable the reduction of production costs, compared to mineral fertiliser, conventional tillage and a single grass crop respectively. As a consequence, the economic yield of the farms is enhanced. Moreover, the application of fresh cattle slurry, especially in combination with non tillage, favours the activity and the functional diversity of edaphic microbial communities, as well as the abundance of earthworms. Nevertheless, non tillage may give rise to problems of compacting in fine-textured soils, from the second year of intensive rotation.

Neiker-Tecnalia also carried out trials with microcosm-scale fodder species and which showed that the application of the glyphosate herbicide in doses normally employed in agriculture may affect the non-targeted edaphic organisms and, in particular, the functional diversity of rhizospheric microbial communities. Regard to this, the measures related to bacterial functional-catabolic diversity are more sensitive to glyphosate than those based on structural-genetic diversity.

From this research, it was concluded that the biomass, the mineralizable nitrogen, the activity and functional diversity of the edaphic microbial communities, as well as the abundance of earthworms, have a fast and high sensitivity response to the changes that agricultural practices produce in the soil. This is why they are high potential tools when evaluating alternative agricultural practices, within the framework of a necessary transition to an agriculture that is more respectful to the environment and that harmonises crop productivity with the protection of soil health and quality in the long-term.

Irati Kortabitarte | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.elhuyar.com
http://www.basqueresearch.com/berria_irakurri.asp?Berri_Kod=2317&hizk=I

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Six-legged livestock -- sustainable food production
11.05.2017 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

nachricht Elephant Herpes: Super-Shedders Endanger Young Animals
04.05.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>