The SoilCare project is developing a set of future scenarios with the aim of identifying different pathways for European agriculture, from now until 2050, that will help to support the development of policies that are future-proof.  The scenario development process is intended to provide a contribution in the following ways:

  • develop scenarios capable of testing the effectiveness of proposed policies, and to be used in the design of policies
  • enable social learning and increase strategic capacity when considering policy alternatives and uncertain futures
  • increase the understanding of difficult futures to operate in, and find ways to take action now against these futures

An overview of the approach taken to developing these scenarios can be found here.  To date, the following 4 draft scenarios have been developed.

Four Scenarios

 

A description and a video providing details of each scenario can be found below.

 Scenario 1: Local and sustainable (for those who can afford it) Description of Scenario 1  SoilCare Scenario1 cover slide
 Scenario 2: Under pressure  Description of Scenario 2   SoilCare Scenario2 cover slide1
 Scenario 3: Race to the bottom  Description of Scenario 3

  SoilCare Scenario3 cover slide

 Scenario 4: Caring and sharing  Description of Scenario 4

  SoilCare Scenario4 cover slide3

 

 

The draft scenarios were presented at a Webinar on 23rd April 2020 where participants were asked to provide feedback on each scenario in order to develop them further. The Webinar presentations can be found here (Webinar introduction and Approach and Scenarios) and a recording of the Webinar here.

We are still collecting feedback on these scenarios to help improve their content and relevance and to ensure we receive feedback from as wide a range of people across different sectors as possible. Please help by providing your feedback by 15 June 2020 in the form here.

 

 

 

Study Site Trials 

 The SICS selected for trialling in this Study Site are described below:

Country General Treatment Category Study Site Trials
France Cover crops, sowing management, tillage

1. Early sowing of wheat (August vs September vs end of October) (2019)

2. Cover crops (oat vs mixed) (2019, 2020)

3. Maize direct sowing (2019)

4. Cover crops interseeded between maize (2020)

 

Study Site poster 2018, Study Site poster 2019

Wheatearlysowing CoverCrops
 Early sowing of wheat  Cover crops

 

The Study Site consists of 2 areas in Brittany, namely the Semnon catchment area and the Linon catchment area. These areas are presented separately below.

External drivers and factors in Brittany

In 1964, France established a water management by catchment areas with the first water law. This management by catchment areas is then reaffirmed by the European Framework Directive on “Water 2000” which requires all its member states in order to achieve good ecological status of waters by 2015. Catchment areas are coherent territories recognized by French and European laws.

Societal drivers

The western part of France (Brittany, Pays de la Loire, Normandie) is a traditional dairy area. Large dairy companies are located in this area. Organic farming and alternative growing methods have been growing much for 10 years, driven by societal demand.

Bio-physical drivers
Annual climate hazards, due to climate change, are becoming stronger. This is a major problem for the cattle management, because food autonomy is threatened. Farms have to be more resilient to climate hazards. They are developing new approaches: innovative crops, new grass management methods.

Semnon catchment area 

Geographical description

Semnon catchment area is localized in the south of Ille-et-Vilaine department, in the eastern part of Brittany. Its size is around 495 km² and 26000 hectares of total cultivated area. Semnon river is 73 km long. The geology of the area is quite homogeneous. It consists of alternating 2 types of schists, among which are intercalated sandstone and sandstone foundations.

The Semnon catchment descends west to its confluence with the Vilaine river, where its altitude is about ten meters. Its maximum altitude is about 100 meters, in the south-eastern part. The Semnon catchment is subject to an oceanic climate, with a gradient to a continental climate in the eastern part, with result in less continuous rains than in coastal areas.

Pedo-climatic zone
Lusitanian/ Atlantic Central, Cambisol

Cropping systems

Cropping intensity
Semnon catchment area has 434 farms and it is mainly a dairy area. There are 18 organic farms on the area. FRAB and his local partner Agrobio35 are working on soils with more or less 12 farms in this area (organic and conventional)

Types of crop
Wheat, maize and grassland: the territory has mainly traditional dairy systems, grassland systems and maize based systems. Most of the farms of the territory grows cereals too. There are also some orchards.

Management of soil, water, nutrients and pests
There is no irrigation in this area. Management of soils and nutrients depends of the farms, whether they are in conventional or organic farming. GAB-FRAB network is trying to promote organic methods, as organic fertilisation, mechanical weeding, rotations…

Soil improving cropping system and techniques currently used
Biological pest management, green manure, organic fertilisers

Problems that cause yield loss or increased costs
Compaction, weeds, loss of soil fertility

Linon catchment area

Geographical description

The Linon catchment area is localized in the north of the Ille-et-Vilaine county, in the eastern part of Brittany. Its size is around 304 km² and about 20,000 hectares of total cultivated area. The Linon river is 33 km long. The geology of the area is quite heterogeneous comprising of alternating brioverian schists, silt and granite subsoil.

The Linon catchment descends east to its confluence with the Rance river, where its altitude is about 10 meters. Its maximum altitude is about 175 meters, in the south and east part. The Linon catchment is subject to an oceanic climate, with an average of 750 mm rainfall per year.

Pedo-climatic zone
Lusitanian/ Atlantic Central, Cambisol

Cropping systems

Cropping intensity

The Linon catchment area has 413 farms and it is mainly a dairy area. There are 18 farms turned to organic production in the area (2017). FRAB and his local partner Agrobio35 are working on soils with more or less 15 farms in this area (organic and conventional).

Types of crop

Wheat, maize and grassland: the territory has mainly traditional dairy systems, grassland systems and maize based systems. Grasslands are particularly important in the north-east and south-west parts of the area, whereas a central part is dominated by crops (maize and wheat).

Management of soil, water, nutrients and pests
There is no irrigation in this area. Management of soils and nutrients depends of the farms, whether they are in conventional or organic farming. GAB-FRAB network is trying to promote organic methods, as organic fertilisation, mechanical weeding, rotations.

Soil improving cropping system and techniques currently used
Biological pest management, green manure, organic fertilisers.

Problems that cause yield loss or increased costs
Compaction, weeds, loss of soil fertility.

 Study Site Trials

 The SICS selected for trialling in this Study Site are described below:

Country General Treatment Category Study Site Trials
Spain Cover crops, tillage, irrigation management

1. Desertification, wind erosion and organic matter decline

- Regulated vs Constant Deficit Irrigation and Minimum tillage in olive orchards;

-Regulated vs Constant Deficit Irrigation and Minimum tillage plus pruning residues added in olive orchards;

-Regulated vs Constant Deficit Irrigation and Minimum Tillage plus temporal cover crops (natural weeds and sowed) in olive orchards;

-Regulated vs standard irrigation and non-tillage (herbicide weed control) in peach orchards;

-Regulated vs standard irrigation and Non-tillage plus pruning residues added and temporal natural vegetation in peach orchards;

-Regulated vs standard irrigation and Non-tillage plus pruning residues and temporal cover crops sowed in peach orchards


Study Site poster 2018, Study Site poster Area A, 2019, Study Site poster Area B, 2019

OliveOrchard3lowres PeachOrchard
 Organic olive orchard (Area A)  Peach orchard (Area B)
OliveOrchard2 Tractor shredding pruning residuesXlowres
  Tractor shredding pruning branches

Geographical description

The study site is located in the province of Almería (South East Spain,). The climate is arid (Mediterranean South). Rainfall is very scarce, always less than 300 mm per year. 

Area A is located in the Sorbas-Tabernas Basin The climate is semiarid thermo-Mediterranean with an average annual temperature of 17.8ºC and an average annual rainfall of 235 mm, which is among the driest areas in Europe. The pronounced regional semiarid climate in the SE Iberian Peninsula is determined by its geographical location, in the rainfall shadow of the main Betic ranges and the proximity of northern Africa. In the autumn, rainfall is associated with incoming fronts from the Mediterranean Sea, which sometimes results in storms and torrential rains. Most rainfall events are low magnitude and low intensity. The average minimum temperature is 4.1°C in the coldest month and an average maximum of 34.7°C in the hottest month. Daily amplitudes average 13.7°C in summer. Potential evaporation is around 4 to 5 times higher than annual precipitation.

Area B is located in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park. There the climate is semiarid warm Mediterranean. The mean annual temperature oscillates around 18-19ºC, and frosts are sporadic, occurring only on isolated days. Mean annual rainfall is approximately 220 mm per year, with prolonged summer droughts, strong inter- (larger than 30%) and intra-annual variations and 9 to 12 months in which precipitation is not sufficient to compensate for potential evapotranspiration. Annual potential evapotranspiration is around 1400 mm. 

Land uses include tree and annual crops cultivation, occasionally in protected structures (greenhouses and under mesh), pasturage (especially goat herds) and recreational activities (touristic uses, beaches in Cabo de Gata, and cinema in Tabernas area). Industry development is scarce and of composed by small enterprises. The exploitation of natural resources is regulated by the current zoning plan (PORN, 2008). Agriculture is one of the main activities, covering 26% of the park area. The abandonment of some agricultural areas and simultaneous intensification in certain others (i.e., water fed agricultural systems and greenhouses) are the main causes of degradation in the park.

StudySites  Orchards
 Almería map showing study sites and EC towers
location.
 Stone fruit orchards sited in Agua Amarga at bloom.

 Study Site Trials

 The SICS selected for trialling in this Study Site are described below:

Country General Treatment Category Study Site Trials
Czech Republic Tillage, fertilization

1. Tillage experiments and different N application - No till (all residues on surface); Reduced till (chisel ploughing up to 10cm-min 30% residues on soil surface); Conventional till (mouldboard ploughing up to 22 cm


Study Site poster 2018Study Site poster 2019

 

 SICS 1 :- Tillage experiment and different N application

 

 

No till

 

Reduced till

 

Tillage

Conventional tillage - mouldbord ploughing up to 22 cm

turning crop residues into the soil

Reduced tillage - chisel ploughing up to 10 cm

min. 30% of crop residues on surface

 Zero tillage - without any treatment

all residues on surface

Description

The study site is situation in the Prague – Ruzyně area.   It has an annual precipitation 472 mm; annual average temp. 7.9°C.  The soil in the area is brown earth modal, clay-loam, loess on, partially on the Cretaceous clay slate with a higher content of coarse dust and a lower content of clay particles; Orthic Luvisol; clay-loamy texture, pH (KCl) 7.0, pH (H2O) 7.8; SOC 1.4%;

The tillage trials started in 1995 with three tillage practices: conventional tillage (CT = ploughing down to 22 cm), reduced tillage (RT = chisel ploughing of the surface soil layer to a depth of 10 cm), and no-tillage practices (NT = with crop residues left on the soil surface). All crop residues and side products are left on the field. Mineral fertilizers containing phosphorus (50 kg P2O5/ha, in Ammophos) and potassium (80 kg K2O/ha in Korn-Kali) were applied on the soil surface every year after harvest. Nitrogen fertilizers are applied during spring vegetation. Nitrogen dose is given with view to previous crop, Nmin. content in soil, expected production yield and required quality. Conventional pesticides are applied as needed in a given year.

Fertilizer Long-term Trial: Deep ploughing (28 cm) is applied before seeding of each crop in the autumn. Pesticides are used only if necessary, and growth regulators have never been used. In the experiment nitrogen mineral fertilizers are applied in four different levels (40-80 kg N/ha), phosphorus and potassium ones at two levels (26 and 35 kg P ha−1; 90 and 124 kg K ha−1). Two organic fertilizers were also used, straw and pig slurry mixed with straw (pig slurry + straw). Pig slurry was applied in the autumn before planting the root crops. The straw of cereals and the residues of other crops are removed from the plots.

Trial on Organic Farming: no fertilisers, no pesticides, soil improving crops are used.

LTEs
 Long term experiments