Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alternative Agricultural Practices Combine Productivity And Soil Health

Date:
July 24, 2009
Source:
Basque Research
Summary:
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. Scientists designed 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.

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Basque Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Basque Research. "Alternative Agricultural Practices Combine Productivity And Soil Health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090724091138.htm>.
Basque Research. (2009, July 24). Alternative Agricultural Practices Combine Productivity And Soil Health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090724091138.htm
Basque Research. "Alternative Agricultural Practices Combine Productivity And Soil Health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090724091138.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins