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.

Related Articles


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 November 24, 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 November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) A Swedish Adventure racing team travels to try and win a world title, but comes home with something way better: a stray dog that joined the team for much of the grueling 430-mile race. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Japanese Pufferfish Discovered in Crimean Waters

Deadly Japanese Pufferfish Discovered in Crimean Waters

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) The capture of deadly Japanese pufferfish in the waters of Crimea is causing concern for fishermen and scientists alike. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying Black Seadevil Fish Captured on First-of-Its Kind Video

Terrifying Black Seadevil Fish Captured on First-of-Its Kind Video

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) An aquarium captures a first-of-its kind video of a notoriously camera-shy fish that’s also not so camera-friendly. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Red Panda Cubs Explore the Bratislava Zoo

Red Panda Cubs Explore the Bratislava Zoo

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) Four-month old Red Panda twins Pim and Pam still rely on their mother for breast milk at the Bratislava Zoo in Slovakia, but the precocious cubs have begun to branch out to solid foods, as well. Duration: 00:41 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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