Cropping Systems

Cropping Systems (10)

Tuesday, 01 September 2020 15:19

Managing trafficking

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Managing trafficking can minimise risks of soil compaction and erosion by reducing the weight and/or frequency of machinery passing across soil. 

Potential ways of managing trafficking include changing the size of machinery, adjusting tyre pressures, drilling across slopes, keeping equipment to headlands, adopting a controlled trafficking system, reducing tillage, and avoiding trafficking during wet periods.  

 

 Title  Language  Type of resource  Link to the resource
A guide to cutting compaction (through managed trafficking) EN Online guide https://soilandwater.org.uk/Guide-to-cutting-compaction
Informative website on controlled traffic farming  EN  Website  http://www.controlledtrafficfarming.com/WhatIs/What-Is-CTF.aspx 
Controlled traffic farming: What is CTF and how to implement it on your farm EN Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHbAZivTCLo

 

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 11:36

Weed management

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Weed management is extremely important in agriculture, as weed infestations can ruin the target crop. Two variants are often distinguished, i.e. chemical weed control and mechanical/biological weed control. The first variant makes use of herbicides, while the second variant makes use of mechanical weeding,  ploughing and target crop rotations. The best option is often a combination of the two: integrated weed management. Proper selection of crops in rotation may greatly contribute to weed suppression.  The table below provides links to existing practical information on the use of SICS weed management techniques. 

 Title  Language Country   Format  Description  Link
Crop rotation and its ability to suppress perennial weeds  EN  UK  Report    http://www.agricology.co.uk/resources/people-skills-rotations-organic-matter-cereals-oil-seeds-pulses-crop-nutrition-fertility

 

This page is constantly under review, and its contents may change.

Thursday, 05 October 2017 12:39

Minimum tillage

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Minimum Tillage Or No Tillage (Zero tillage) is a production system in which soil cultivation is kept to the minimum necessary for crop establishment and growth.  The table below provides links to existing practical information on the use of minimum tillage in agriculture.

This page is constantly under review, and its contents may change.

 Title Language Country Format  Description  Link
Cultivation techniques to protect soils EN UK Fact sheet Provides steps to success and a farmer case study http://www.theriverstrust.org/media/2017/04/Pinpoint-23.0-Cultivation-techniques-to-protect-soils-Minimum-tillage.pdf
Minimum tillage EN UK Technical Note Technical requirements for minimum tillage and three farmer case studies https://www.sruc.ac.uk/downloads/download/583/tn553_minimum_tillage
 No Till 101 EN USA Website American webpage with information on no-till systems. https://www.no-tillfarmer.com/topics/88-no-till-101
Soils 3: Compaction EN UK website, videos,  Farmers Academy webpage with videos and information on compaction.

https://www.fwi.co.uk/academy/lesson/soils-3-compaction

Minimum Tillage Guide

EN UK Guidance document Guidance on minimum tillage from Kuhn Farm Machinery company

http://www.kuhn.co.uk/internet/prospectus.nsf/0/

2B4AFFE429F99E98C125715D002F62FA/

$File/KUHN_Guide_TCS_GB.pdf

Minimum tillage with imported poultry litter and crop rotations EN  UK  Farmer case study The effects and costs on a farm of implmenting minimum tillage over 10 years http://gya.co.uk/docs/Case%20study%2028.pdf

 

This page is constantly under review, and its contents may change.

Thursday, 05 October 2017 11:11

Intercropping

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Intercropping Intercropping is defined as the growth of more than one crop species or cultivar simultaneously in the same field during a growing season. The table below provides links to existing practical information on the use of cover crops in agriculture. 

This page is constantly under review, and its contents may change.

 Title Language Country Format  Description  Link
Guidelines for Intercropping EN USA Website American webpage with comprehensive links on intercropping.

http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Books/Crop-Rotation-on-Organic-Farms/Text-Version/Guidelines-for-Intercropping

The potential for companion cropping and intercropping on UK arable farms

 EN  UK Website, Report Webpage with information and link to a PDF resource: 'Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust Report'.  http://www.agricology.co.uk/resources/agroforestry-people-skills-cereals-oil-seeds-pulses/potential-companion-cropping-and

 

This page is constantly under review, and its contents may change.

Thursday, 05 October 2017 10:42

Green Manures

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Green manures are fast growing plants that are grown to cover bare soil.  They suppress weeds, protect soil from erosion and add structure.  The table below provides links to existing practical information on the use of green manures in agriculture.

This page is constantly under review, and its contents may change.

 Title Language Country Format  Description  Link
Sort Out Your Soil: a practical guide to Green Manures EN UK Guidance document Guide to green manure management and species details

https://www.cotswoldseeds.com/files/cotswoldseeds/

Cotswold_Green_Manures_final.pdf

Green Manures EN UK Website Royal Horitcultural Society webpage providing cultivating and selecting advice.

 https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=373

GREATsoils Videos/Webinars

 

EN UK Video AHDB website providing information in the form of videos including some featuring green manures.  https://horticulture.ahdb.org.uk/greatsoils-videoswebinars

Green Manures - species selection

EN UK Fact sheet Horticulture Development Company factsheet on types of green manures.

http://www.organicresearchcentre.com/manage/authincludes/

article_uploads/iota/technical-leaflets/green-manures-species-selection.pdf

Green manures - effects on soil nutrient management and soil physical and biological properties

EN UK Fact sheet Horticulture Development Company factsheet on effects of green manures on soils.

http://www.organicresearchcentre.com/manage/authincludes/

article_uploads/iota/technical-leaflets/green-manures-effects-on-soil-nutrient-management-and-soil-physical-and-biological-properties.pdf

 

This page is constantly under review, and its contents may change.

 

Thursday, 05 October 2017 09:11

Cover Crops

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cover crop  is a temporary vegetative cover that is grown to provide protection for the soil and the establishment of plants.  Many types of plants can be used as cover crops. Legumes and grasses (including cereals) are the most extensively used, but there is increasing interest in brassicas (such as rape, mustard, and forage radish) and continued interest in others, such as buckwheat.  The table below provides links to existing practical information on the use of cover crops in agriculture.   

This page is constantly under review, and its contents may change.  

 TitleLanguageCountry Format  Description Link
Cover Crops: A practical guide to soil and system improvement EN UK Guidance document Information on the selection and management of cover crop options

https://www.agricology.co.uk/sites/default/files/

NIABTAG%20Cover%20Crops_lowres.pdf

Opportunities for cover crops in conventional arable rotations EN UK Fact sheet UK AHDB Cereals and Oils document introducing cover crops and providing case studies.

 

https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/media/655816/is41-opportunities-for-cover-crops-in-conventional-arable-rotations.pdf

Green Manure and cover crops in organic systems: guide to choosing species FR, EN, IT France Guidance document A detailed description of each species that can be used to guide farmers choice.   https://organic-farmknowledge.org/tool/30573
A review of the benefits, optimal crop management practices and knowledge gaps associated with different cover crop species EN UK Report Comprehensive review of cover crops in the UK https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/media/1165709/rr90.pdf

 GREATsoils Videos/Webinars

 

EN UK

Videos/

Webinars

AHDB website providing information in the form of videos.  https://horticulture.ahdb.org.uk/greatsoils-videoswebinars

Cover Crop: Farmer experiences

EN UK Real Life Case Studies These publications feature farmers talking about their experiences using cover crops

https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/media/1083447/1_Peter-Cartwright.pdf

https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/media/1083450/2_Richard-Reed.pdf

https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/media/1093321/3-David-Blacker-v2.pdf

https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/media/1083435/4_Phil-Jarvis.pdf (SoilCare Study Site)

https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/media/1083438/5_Tom-Bradshaw.pdf

https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/media/1083441/6_Russ-McKenzie.pdf

https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/media/1083444/7_Jake-Freestone.pdf

Cover Crop Basics EN US Guidance document A Cover Crop Guide including information on understanding quality, seed cost, species information and performance as well as recipes for success https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/59338734/cover-crop-basics-getting-started
Conserving Water with Cover Crops EN  Germany  Article   Discussion on the consumption of water by cover crops  https://www.dsv-seeds.com/export/sites/dsv-seeds.com/extras/documents/interesting-articles/Innovation-3-2016_CONSERVING-WATER-WITH-COVER-CROPS.pdf
Boosting on-farm soil organic matter with cover/catch crops EN, IT, SP, PL   Fact sheet  Fact sheets from the EU SmartSOIL project

http://smartsoil.eu/fileadmin/www.smartsoil.eu/WP5/Factsheets/

SmartSOIL_factsheet_cover-crops.pdf (EN)

http://smartsoil.eu/fileadmin/www.smartsoil.eu/WP5/Factsheets/
SmartSOIL_factsheet_cover-crops-italian-final.pdf (IT)
http://smartsoil.eu/fileadmin/www.smartsoil.eu/WP5/Factsheets/
SmartSOIL_factsheet_cover-crops-spanish-final.pdf (SP)
http://smartsoil.eu/fileadmin/www.smartsoil.eu/WP5/Factsheets/
SmartSOIL_factsheet_cover-crops-polish-final.pdf (PL)

 

This page is constantly under review, and its contents may change.

 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 15:04

Soil cultivation

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Tillage management can be applied to agricultural soil to minimize the frequency or intensity of tillage operations which are currently associated with organic matter decline, high energy use, erosion and loss of biodiversity. A number of tillage management practices may be considered beneficial to soil, such as reduced tillage (minimum and zero tillage) or traffic management.

Minimum tillage

Managing trafficking

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 14:55

Fertilisation/amendments

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Nutrient management through fertilization enhances the capacity of the soil to deliver nutrients, and thereby increases crop production and residual crop biomass returned to the soil. However, fertilization commonly increases environmental impacts through leaching and the emission of nitrous oxide (N2O). The fertilization source (inorganic vs organic) has a large effect on the nutrient delivering capacity, soil carbon sequestration and emissions. Fertilization indirectly enhances also the water delivery capacity of the soil, because a more vigorous crop explores a larger volume of soil. The production of synthetic fertilizers is energy intensive and is associated with CO2 emissions.

The table below provides links to existing practical information on the use of amendments in agriculture.   

This page is constantly under review, and its contents may change.  

 TitleLanguageCountry Format  Description Link
Amendments For Soil Health In Top Fruit EN UK Trial Results of Innovative Farmer field lab which aims to investigate how the addition of different soil amendments affects soil health in fruit production systems.

https://www.innovativefarmers.org/field-lab?id=c6bb2819-56d3-e611-80ce-005056ad0bd4

http://www.organicresearchcentre.com/manage/authincludes/

article_uploads/Sally%20Wonderful%20Woodchip.pdf

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 14:54

Soil-improving crops

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Crop rotations have a positive effect on soil functioning, compared to monocultures, which is mainly related to suppressing soil-borne diseases and weed infestations. They may have a positive effect on soil water and nutrient delivery, because healthy crop rotations often explore a greater volume of soil. Crop rotations also tend to have a positive effect on soil structure and soil tilth, because of the diversity of rooting patterns and soil organic matter sources. Root crops in crop rotations often have a negative effect on soil structure due to the disturbance of soil structure during harvesting and the low amounts of residual biomass left in the soil. This effect may be mitigated/restored again by a subsequent cereal crop or oilseed crops.  SoilCare will be trialling a number of different crop rotations to investigate their soil-improving qualities.

Cover Crops

Green Manures

Intercropping

Friday, 30 September 2016 09:47

Soil-Improving Cropping Systems

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One of the key aims of SoilCare is to identify, test and evaluate soil-improving cropping systems (SICS) that will increase the profitability and sustainability of agriculture across Europe. 

SoilCare defines soil improving cropping systems (SICS) as cropping systems that improve soil quality (and hence its functions), and that have positive impacts on the profitability and sustainability of cropping systems. Cropping systems refer to both crop type, crop rotation, and associated agronomic management techniques.  The proof of the SICS concept is in the prioritization of specific crop rotations and specific agro-management techniques, and the subsequent optimization.

                Soil Improving Cropping System (SICS)
              Crop rotations & agro-management techniques
  • Cereals with oil seed crops

  • Cereals with beans & peas

  • Cereals with leys & legumes

  • Cereals with root crops

  • Cereals with vegetables

  • Cereals with flowers

  • Rotations with horticulture

  • Permanent cropping systems

  • Mixed crop - animal systems

 +
Prioritization & Optimization   

 

The SICS that have been selected by SoilCare study site stakeholders for field trials are presented HERE.

Two categories of SICS have been distinguished in SoilCare:

  1. soil threat specific SICS, which mitigate the threat and alleviate its effects, and
  2. general SICS, which enhance soil quality and soil functions in general.

Prioritization of crop types and agro-management technique in soil threat-specific SICS.

 Nr  Soil threat-specific SICS  Priority crop types  Priority agro-management techniques
1   Acidification  No specific crop type  Liming, manuring
 2  Erosion  Permanent groundcover,
 Deep-rooting crops
 Cereals with cover crops
 Alfalfa, Agroforestry
Zero-tillage,
landscape management,
Contour traffic
Proper timing of activities
3 Compaction Deep-rooting crops,
Cereals, perennial rye, alfalfa
Controlled traffic
Low wheel load, low tyre pressures
Proper timing of activities
4 Pollution Biofuel crops
Some fodder crops
No leafy vegetables
No use of polluted inputs
Tree lines to scavenge air-born pollution
5 Organic matter decline Permanent groundcover,
deep-rooting crops
Cereals with cover crops, alfalfa
Minimum tillage,
Residue return, Mulching
Manuring
6 Biodiversity loss Crop diversification Manuring, minimum tillage, residue return,
No pesticides,
Minimal fertilization
7  Salinization Salt-tolerant crops Drainage
Targeted irrigation
Ridging
8 Flooding Flooding-tolerant crops Drainage
Landscape management
9  Landslides Deep-rooting crops, trees Landscape management,
No arable cropping
10 Desertification Deep-rooting C4 crops Landscape management

 

Prioritization of crop types and agro-management technique in general SICS

 Nr  Targets of general SICS  Priority crop types  Priority agro-management techniques
 a  Soil structure improvement  Permanent groundcover,
Deep-rooting crops
Cereals with cover crops
Alfalfa, clovers
 Minimum tillage,
Proper timing of activities
Manuring
Liming
 b  Balanced nutrition  No specific crops  Fertilization based on soil fertility and plant leaf analyses, targeted manuring
c Increasing crop yield High-yielding crop varieties Proper timing of activities, in-depth soil analyses, frequent field observation, targeted irrigation, fertilization, pest management and weed control
d Coping with and benefiting from spatial variations in soil quality No specific crops Establishing relationships between spatial variations in soil quality and spatial variations in crop yield,
Variable rate tillage, liming, manuring, irrigation seeding, fertilization, and crop management.
 e Improving soil quality, farm profitability and cropping system sustainability Wide crop rotations with high values crops, leguminous crops, cover crops Site-specific optimization of the agro-management techniques

 

A non-technical summary of a review of soil-improving cropping systems (in English) can be viewed here HERE. A shorter 4-page summary is also available HERE.

Some voluntary guidelines for sustainable soil management (in French) are available HERE