lunedì 28 ottobre 2013

Considerations on soil fertility

Acqui Terme (Piedmont) landscape with vineyards and other cultivations
In the last decades, we have sometimes forgotten in agriculture that the soil is the most valuable asset we have. You could compare it to a bank account that you regularly withdraw from. In cultivating durable arboreous species like the vine, we have truly created a system that pays little attention to the soil (weeding, compacting, erosion… lack of rotation, excessive production). Today we are decisively more knowledgeable because the ‘falling tendency’ phenomenon is right in front of our eyes in many forms (physiological diseases like ‘legno nero’ (grapevine yellows), flavescence, poor plant growth… and their fruits - quality and quantity).

Soil is an organism in a permanent state of youth and we, through good management, seek to enhance its vitality, that is, its capacity for conscientious use over time.

Like us, soil needs a lot of oxygen, which is responsible for the explosion of life (together with nutrients and water) and this happens when there is harmony between the aerobic (large) and anaerobic (small) parts.

So we have to ‘restore’ fertility to the land, above all, by respecting the systems (humus management). Unfortunately, more than 90% of the potential of organic matter is wasted every year and that’s dramatic. Soil has a good memory and we’ll come to understand with increasingly difficulties that adequate economic results can only be achieved with increasingly onerous interventions of fertilizer, water and pesticides to the detriment of the whole production system, and for increasingly expensive and poor results.

Maremma Tuscany hills in August 2015
The vitality of fertility as a business risk is the most economical and modern challenge we can accept. The health and wellbeing of agricultural sites (practice viticulture with emotional values, but above all, health-driven values) - safety for operators and for those living in agricultural sites (think about very intensive viticulture!), healthy and not at-risk alimentation, conservation of the biological variability of the sites (floral and fauna at all levels of the food chain from bacteria, yeast and mycorrhiza… all the way to more evolved species).

The farming practices most in tune with the proper use of resources are vegetable intercropping with conducive species, mulches, green manure and periodic cultivation with equipment that slices the soil to replace oxygen and encourage vital processes (a mouldboard plough shouldn’t be used).

Asti hills (Piedmont) with polycoltural landscape
The cultivated biological system will always be increasingly fragile, thus the importance of nurseries and the ability to choose on site materials suitable for reproduction (acclimated genetics also towards biotic and abiotic adversities).

Italian Version

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento