Project LIFE HELPSOIL Adapting to climate change through sustainable conservation agriculture techniques

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1 FINAL CONFERENCE Crops for better soil (LIFE 10 ENV/ES/471) Project LIFE HELPSOIL Adapting to climate change through sustainable conservation agriculture techniques STEFANO BRENNA ERSAF Regional Agency for Agriculture and Forests of Lombardy (Italy) 18th of May, 2016 MADRID

2 Project LIFE HELPSOIL Adapting to climate change through sustainable conservation agriculture techniques SUMMARY INTRODUCTION TO THE PROJECT FIRST RESULTS OUTCOMES AND NEXT STEPS Final Conference CROPS FOR BETTER SOIL MADRID (Spain) th May 2016

3 Life HelpSoil Helping soil functions and adaptation to climate change by sustainable conservation agriculture techniques 5 Administrative Regions involved (the whole Po plain) 20 demonstrative farms Conservation Agriculture vs Conventional Agriculture Monitoring of agronomic and environmental indicators Life HelpSoil project area and location of demonstrative farms PARTNERS

4 Crops management practices compared CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE CONVENTIONAL AGRICULTURE Intensified and divesified Crop Rotations (more species, intercropping, ) Permanent soil cover (crop residues management, cover crops) Reduced tillage (direct seeding, minimum tillage) Controled use of fertilizers and persticides (precision farming, nutrient balance, reduced rates, ) Poor Crop Rotations (1-2 crops) No management of crop residues, no use of cover crops or intercropping Plough + secondary tillage to prepare seed bed Standard utilization of fertilizers and pesticides

5 Practices are investigated with respect to differences in pedoclimatic conditions Many different soils.. Different soil qualities (eg: SOC stock).. SOC stock in North Italy

6 and with respect to differences in cropping systems Different irrigation systems.. Animal husbandry importance. main irrigation systems in the Po Plain Nitrogen from livestock manure in North Italy

7 From farmer point of view Adopting Conservation Agriculture practices leads to consider at the same time many different issues: - How to manage irrigation - Distribution of manure/slurry - Plant protection strategies - Availability of suitable seeders -..

8 AGRONOMIC INDICATORS (some results) 1 crop yields - maize and wheat (grain) MAIZE (t/ha dry matter) WHEAT (t/ha dry matter) test fields test fields test fields test fields No significative difference:.. conservation agriculture conventional agriculture

9 AGRONOMIC INDICATORS (some results) 2 Conservation Agriculture leads to save water. and reduces fossil fuel consumption

10 AGROENVIRONMENTAL INDICATORS (some results) 1 SOIL BIODIVERSITY n. lombrichi earthworms (number x 25 cm 3 ) microartropodi, microarthropods indice QBS/ar QBS/ar index

11 AGROENVIRONMENTAL INDICATORS (some results) 2.1 SOC (Soil Organic Carbon) STORAGE Conservation Agriculture Vs Convenzional Agriculture (Vertisols Vertic Cambisols) clay (%) 57,0 ph (H 2 O) 8,3 CaCO 3 tot. (%) 13,4 Crop rotation: winter cereals, mais, cover crop, soybean, alfa-alfa ac = conservation agriculture at = conventional agriculture Δ = 20 t/ha C ( 80 t/ha CO 2 ) increase = 2 t/ha/year

12 AGROENVIRONMENTAL INDICATORS (some results) 2.2 SOC (Soil Organic Carbon) STORAGE 25 % farms 45 % farms 30 % farms SOC stock (t/ha) conv conv CA 77.9 CA AVERAGE SOC STOCK (Po Plain) = t/ha

13 AGROENVIRONMENTAL INDICATORS (some results) 2.3 SOC (Soil Organic Carbon) STORAGE How much carbon could be gained in the agricultural soils Example for Lombardy cropland According to a 0,3 0,4 t/ha/year SOC increasing rate Lombardy - PCS for cropland SOC increasing PCS = Potential Carbon Sequestration CO 2 storage in OC% in tc/ha in % of PCS MtCO 2 eq tco 2 eq/ha 0,1 3, ,9 12,8 0,2 7, ,8 25,7 0,5 17, ,6 64,1

14 AGROENVIRONMENTAL INDICATORS (some results) 3 Biological Fertility Index (IBF) Conservation Agriculture Vs Convenzional Agriculture at IBF index ac IBF STRESS ALLARME STRESS PREALLARME MEDIA BUONA ALTA at = conventional agriculture = conservation agriculture ac

15 ORGANIC FARMING and CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE 1 Reduced tillage and green manures are efficient conservation agriculture tools that can be adapted to further and faster improvement of organic crop production systems. The introduction of these practices must: enhance productivity and nutrient use efficiency allow efficient weed management increase biodiversity Increase C sequestration and reduce GHG emissions Reduce production costs These goals will be achieved by adapting and integrating conservation agriculture techniques (in particular reduced tillage and improved use of green manures) into organic farming systems to intensify biological soil functions like nutrient cycling, soil carbon build-up, while at the same time optimising management protocols for weeds (which are the main challenge when introducing minimum tillage systems). CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE WEED CONTROL ORGANIC FERTILIZATION MACHINERY KNOWLEDGE ORGANIC FARMING

16 1- REDUCED TILLAGE + GREEN MANURE for summer crop 2 2- REDUCED TILLAGE + INTER-CROPPING for winter cereal

17 DISSEMINATION ACTIONS Web site ( n. of contacts: 1140/month (on average) total n. of News = 188 n. of Newsletters = 14 (535 contacts) Field Days in the demonstrative farms 12 already done; 8 scheduled in training for students Participation to meeting and congress (GCC, ESA2014, WCCA6, CASLU16, EcoSummit 2016 Mid Term conference (Milan, ), EXPO 2015 GUIDELINES to support the implementation of conservation practices

18 FINAL CONFERENCE Milan - June, 2017 ALL OF YOU ARE INVITED!

19 NETWORKING ACTIONS Study visit in France (2015) and South Italy (2016) exchange of information and experiences with other Life projects (CarbOnFarm - SoilPro - Agricarbon - WStore2 - Agricare - FaReNalt- Gestire - Crops for better soil ) participation to meeting and seminar Lecce/Lamezia 2014 Green Carbon Conference 2014 Fiera Cremona 2013 EIMA Bologna 2014 Fieragricola Verona 2016 Madrid 2015

20 OUTCOMES Partially already achieved, other expected which we are working to increased number of Italian Regions providing Measures of PSR (Rural Development Plan) that consider Conservation Agriculture practices (15 Regions out of 20 in the PSR ) increased awareness of farmers that Conservation Agriculture can be a solution, can be actually applied, is not against anyone, but needs to be adapted to any specific local conditions (soil, cropping system,...), knowledge is available and is enough to start going towards this challenge... fostering the diffusion of more sustainable agricultural practices (currently cropland = 4,5 million hectares in the Po Plain; 4,5% CA )

21 Food and agricultural production are strongly joint to soil conservation, protection of soil health and enhancement of sustainable soil management

22 FAO estimates that global agricultural production n to increase by 70 per cent in order to ensure security for 9 billion people by 2050 The challenge is how to get farmers in a position to meet this increased demand avoiding negative impact on natural resources and assuring sustainability with respect to: economic efficiency, social equity and ecological protection

23 Land take as well as erosion and soil degradation threaten agriculture

24 sustainable soil management practices addressed to produce more with less are essential Conservation Agriculture can give a contribution to enhance ecosystem services provided by soils

25 Thanks for attention!

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