Soil fertility – the only possible foundation for more sustainable agriculture

Introduction Under pressure from continually falling farm gate prices and continually rising costs, the technological approach to farm intensification has been oriented mainly towards crop yields and profit - without considering its negative environmental and social consequences [1–3]. As a matter of economic survival and sustainabilty, farmers all over the world are seeking an alternative to farming systems that depend on nonrenewable sources of energy and their derivatives (mineral fertilizers, especially nitrogen, pesticides), the mouldboard plough, and irrigation. Long-term field experiments with crop rotations and continuous monocropping on Chernozem soils of the Balti steppe, Republic of Moldova, demonstrate that, under steppe conditions, replacing perennial vegetation with annual crops, abbreviated crop rotations, and continual disturbance of the soil by ploughing have driven substantial losses of soil organic matter (SOM) and a significant loss of soil fertility. Sustainability demands a rapid transition to farming in an ecological way - with a different structure of the sown area, no black fallow, less land under row crops and an increase of the area under compact-drilled crops including perennial legumes and grasses, accompanied by re-integration of crop and animal husbandry. More details about the experiment

Publication date: 25.03.2021
Author name: 
Boris Boincean, David Dent2