Martes, 28 Noviembre 2017 10:44

Diverfarming drafts the map of crop diversification in Europe

The project, within the framework of the Horizon H2020 of the European Commission, has carried out a bibliographical search on the state of crop diversification in Europe.

Intercalating crops and reducing or eliminating tilling practices. That is the basis of the diversification of perennial and woody crops that predominates in Europe.

These farming practices become the backbone that unites latitudes through olive, almond and citrus trees in Spain; vineyards in Germany and fruit trees in Hungary. Crop irrigation depends, basically, on the precipitations falling on the land, whilst the common practice regarding fertilisation is the use of compost or manure, with special mention to ground olives in Spain and the biochart in vineyards in Germany.

The way to conserve the soil in the diversification systems of this range of crops is however more diverse. Vegetation cover, buffering, reducing the use of machinery and improvements in drainage are some of the options incorporated.

Another group of crops that cover a good part of Europe’s land is that formed by cereals in Spain and Italy, forage crops in Holland and Finland and horticulture in Hungary. In this case, crop rotation and not ploughing as a tilling practice are the techniques that serve as the nexus among them all.

In water matters for this group of crops, Italy and Hungary should be highlighted for their use of deficit irrigation strategies, while the fertilisation is similar to that used for woody crops. Mention should be made that “not tilling”, to reduce mechanisation, is also the option chosen for soil conservation.

These are the data extracted from the study performed by Diverfarming in which the different options for crop diversification and sustainability have been analysed. This study is one of the steps prior to choosing the sustainable systems that will be developed on the land over the five years of the project’s life.

After obtaining a first list of the different alternatives divided by zones the team from the Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, has been charged with the task of broadening knowledge of these alternatives through a scientific analysis of the different options, with these data being the result.

The results highlight the need to establish zone- and crop-specific measures, since focusing on the concrete problems in each zone and applying the appropriate cropping techniques will provide an increase in efficiency and sustainability never before achieved.

What now remains is for the stakeholders involved and the experts from the agriculture sector to contribute their vision and knowledge on the options posed, and it will be then that Diverfarming grows on the land.

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