Special Issue "Soil Tillage Systems and Conservative Agriculture"
A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 December 2020) | Viewed by 25322
Interests: agrotechnics, herbology and soil management: soil conservation systems for a sustainable agriculture, anti-erosion systems, minimum soil tillage, no-tillage, carbon sequestration; integrated control of weeds and correct use of herbicides; weed biology and ecology, weed assessment; crop rotation and differentiated agrotechnics; soil sciences: pedologic studies and land evaluation, pedoameliorations and soil erosion control studies; technique experimentally and analysis of variance; rural development and climatic changes
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Conservative agriculture involves achieving productivity equal to or close to conventional agriculture, with optimized energy and economic efficiency, while reducing the impact on the environment, especially reducing soil degradation and erosion.
Conservative agriculture includes a series of complementary agricultural practices: (i) minimal soil disturbance (direct sowing) to conserve soil structure, fauna, and organic matter; (ii) permanent soil cover (cover crops, residues, and mulch) to protect the soil and contribute to weed removal; (iii) various crop rotations and combinations, which stimulate soil microorganisms and control pests, weeds and plant diseases.
The reasons for practicing conservative agriculture are as follows: agrotechnics (drought control, soil erosion control, and adapting to climate change), economic (efficiency), environmental protection (soil ecological), and compatibility with the Conservative Agricultural Policies. In the conventional agriculture system, 50–60% of the quantities of water from precipitates during a year are lost by direct evaporation – hence, the agrophytotechnical measures of water conservation are required. These can be achieved through conservative agriculture, based on soil protection and its tillage so that the vegetal remains on the surface, ensuring "the right of the soil to vegetation".
The scientific criteria for the extension of sustainable alternative soil tillage (minimum tillage, no-tillage etc.) are considered the 10 benefits obtained by applying them: the time of soil tillage is reduced by 2–4 times; fuel consumption per unit area is reduced by 30–50%; the need for agricultural machinery at the surface unit is reduced; the structure of the soil is restored and the compaction of the surface and depth is diminished; increases the organic matter content of the soil; increases soil permeability for water and improves overall soil drainage; soil erosion is reduced; vegetal debris remaining at the surface of the soil or incorporated at 10–15 cm depth (where biological activity is maximum) contributes to the growth of soil fauna and flora; maintains the quality of groundwater and surface water (the nutrients and pesticides applied are no longer washed by erosion, and the more intense biological activity – associated with the organic matter in the soil – uses and decomposes these inputs); maintains air quality by reducing emissions from the burning of fossil fuels (diesel) used in road traffic and by reducing the carbon removed in the atmosphere through soil respiration (being fixed by increasing soil organic matter).
Requirements and challenges of transition to conservation agriculture systems are diverse: initial investment in specialized equipment; specialized consulting services; in comparison with conventional agriculture, a fundamental change of approach (difficult plug separation) is required; normally, a transition period of 5–7 years is needed for the conservative agriculture system to be balanced; productivity may be lower in the early years, and the onslaught of diseases, pests, and outbreaks may be higher; in some areas, the large quantity of plant residues can be a disadvantage, the solutions for their quicker decomposition being decisive for the success of the applied agrotechnics.
This Special Issue " Soil Tillage Systems and Conservative Agriculture" will publish the results of the research or personal contributions of reviewers in the field of soil tillage systems (minimum tillage, no-tillage, etc.) – soil protection – crop rotation in the current context of conservative agriculture.
In this Special Issue, we seek scientifically sound manuscripts with relevance in at least one of the following topics: (1) Soil tillage for agricultural sustainability; (2) influence of soil tillage system on productivity, energy efficiency, and economics; (3) tillage system impacts on environmental quality and soil parameters; (4) advantages and disadvantages of soil tillage systems; (5) technological differentiations in the application of different soil tillage systems.
Prof. Dr. Teodor Rusu
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- conservative agriculture
- mulch – crop rotation – soil tillage system
- minimum tillage
- soil and water conservation – efficiency – productivity