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Agriculture 2017, 7(12), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture7120103

Impacts of Agro-Ecological Practices on Soil Losses and Cash Crop Yield

1
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics—Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment, CREA-AA, 70125 Bari, Italy
2
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics—Research Centre for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, CREA-OF, 63077 Monsampolo del Tronto (AP), Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 October 2017 / Revised: 21 November 2017 / Accepted: 11 December 2017 / Published: 15 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Crop Production Intensification)
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Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the impact of agro-ecological practices on soil losses, by assessing experimental field topography changes and cauliflower crop yield after an artificial extreme rainfall event. Data were collected in an innovative experimental device in which different combined agronomic strategies were tested such as hydraulic arrangement, crop rotations and agro-ecological service crops (ASC) introduction. The collection of elevation data was carried out in kinematic way before rainfall, and in punctual surveys to evaluate the effects of artificial event on this parameter. Non-parametric tests were performed to evaluate differences between samples. High-resolution digital elevation models were generated from independent data using kriging, and elevation difference maps were produced. The results indicated that the data before and after the artificial rainfall were statistically different. The raised strips suffered soil loss showing that the strip with permanent intercropping was higher than that in the absence of ASC. A significant rise of elevation was registered in the furrowed strips after rainfall, and deposition of soil occurred at the lowest areas of the experimental field. Moreover, the study showed a relationship between cash crop yield and elevation: the areas with lower elevation (higher flooding) were characterized by the lowest yield. View Full-Text
Keywords: agro-ecological practices; agro-ecological service crops; artificial extreme rainfall event; cauliflower yield; climate change; elevation data; resolution digital elevation models (DEMs); soil losses agro-ecological practices; agro-ecological service crops; artificial extreme rainfall event; cauliflower yield; climate change; elevation data; resolution digital elevation models (DEMs); soil losses
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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De Benedetto, D.; Montemurro, F.; Diacono, M. Impacts of Agro-Ecological Practices on Soil Losses and Cash Crop Yield. Agriculture 2017, 7, 103.

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