Adapting agriculture for a sustainable future

The EC just published an extensive study on the contribution of LIFE projects towards Climate Change & Adaptation. Our project was mentioned in the Agriculture section. The reference to our project can be found below:

LIFE projects have trialled organic and precision farming methods in a range of circumstances. For example, the project Crops for better soil set out to demonstrate that the cultivation of semi-arid land in Spain can be made economically viable by applying organic farming techniques. It encouraged organic farmers to introduce legumes and oilseeds in a crop rotation system. Egbert Sonneveld, the project’s technical coordinator, explains that these types of crop have “good value” on the market and benefit the soil because “their roots go deeper into the lower layers and the legumes fix nitrogen for themselves and for the following crop”.

Other crops that have performed well in trials include lentils, chick peas, dry peas and some very old legumes such as bitter vetch, grass pea and broad bean – but controlling weeds is a problem for farmers. For this reason, the project bought a tilling machine to remove them, and due to its demonstrated success, Mr Sonneveld believes that every farmer should own one. Oilseeds are also not without their difficulties, given that they are a summer crop and thus dependent on unreliable spring rains.

The project has also tried alternatives to wheat and barley – namely durum wheat, oats and rye – as well as crops in combination such as lentils with wheat, which have yielded “very positive” results, according to Mr Sonneveld. Moreover, crop rotation has an economic advantage for farmers. “Instead of getting return on the land once every two years, by rotating only cereals with set aside, now they
get return every year,” he says.

Click here for the complete study.


Crops for better Soil News