Special Issue "Soil Tillage Systems and Conservative Agriculture"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 11 November 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Teodor Rusu

Guest Editor
Faculty of Agriculture, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj‐Napoca, Romania
Interests: pedo-amelioration and soil erosion control studies, Analysis of variance (ANOVA), anti-erosion systems, carbon sequestration
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

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 tillage (through a reduced soil tillage system or 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 tillage, 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 soil conservation tillage (minimum tillage and no-tillage) 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 conservative soil tillage systems; (5) technological differentiations in the application of conservative soil tillage systems.

Prof. Dr. Teodor Rusu
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • conservative agriculture
  • mulch – crop rotation – soil tillage system
  • minimum tillage
  • no-tillage
  • soil and water conservation – efficiency – productivity

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Synergies and Determinants of Sustainable Intensification Practices in Pakistani Agriculture
Land 2020, 9(4), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9040110 - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
Sustainable intensification practices (SIPs) involve a process to produce high yields for existing land without affecting the environment. The significance and relevance of SIPs in a Pakistani context demands an investigation. Hence, this study takes the initiative to investigate the determinants regarding the [...] Read more.
Sustainable intensification practices (SIPs) involve a process to produce high yields for existing land without affecting the environment. The significance and relevance of SIPs in a Pakistani context demands an investigation. Hence, this study takes the initiative to investigate the determinants regarding the adoption of these practices. Based on the evidence, we selected five SIPs, namely, improved seeds, organic manure, crop rotation, intercropping, and low tillage. Furthermore, this study analyzes the adoption of SIPs with randomly collected data from 612 farmers through multistage sampling. A multivariate probit model (MVP) is employed to analyze the mutually dependent adoption decisions and identify the factors associated with them. The results revealed that education, the area under cultivation, access to information, extension access, social participation, rainfall variability, and temperature increase significantly predict the adoption of SIPs. The adoption of organic manure and crop rotation was highest between all the ecological zones, whereas low tillage was the least adopted practice. Adoption intensity in mixed cropping zones was slightly higher than the other ecological zones. Moreover, the findings also reveal the important synergies amid natural resource management and input-based SIPs. Hence, the study highlights the perseverance and importance of social groups and recommends the government to formulate comprehensive policies to facilitate institutional access and elevate the adoption level amongst the farming community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Tillage Systems and Conservative Agriculture)
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