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Testing and scaling-up agroecologically based organic conservation tillage systems for family farmers in southern Brazil

Altieri, Dr Miguel; Lovato, Dr. Paulo; Lana, Mr Marcos and Bittencourt, Mr Henrique (2008) Testing and scaling-up agroecologically based organic conservation tillage systems for family farmers in southern Brazil. Poster at: Cultivating the Future Based on Science: 2nd Conference of the International Society of Organic Agriculture Research ISOFAR, Modena, Italy, June 18-20, 2008.

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Summary

In southern Brazil several small farmers developed an innovative organic conservation tillage system (OCT) that does not depend on herbicides for weed control but relies instead on the use of cover crop mixtures (including various combinations of rye, vetch and raphanus) that leave a thick residue mulch layer on which traditional grain crops are directly planted, suffering very little weed interference during the growing season and reaching agronomically acceptable yield levels. Our research showed that the rye, fodder radish and vetch mixture effectively suppressed emergence of summer annual weeds in OCT systems. Because of the allelopathic effect of phytotoxins associated with the cover crops residues, farmers avoid toxic effects by placing crop seeds below the toxic layer (allelopathic zone) formed by the phytotoxins leached a short distance (5-10cm) from the mulch into the soil. In addition to weed suppression, residues also have positive effects on subsequent crops from increased soil quality parameters, improved crop nutrition, and in some cases suppression of soil-borne pathogens. Yields in most cases are 5-10% lower in OCT systems when compared to CT systems, but such differences are easily offset by the lower costs of production and the environmental benefits of OCT systems. In our trials the combination of grass and legumes enhanced biomass production and therefore mulch thickness, weed suppression, and organic matter inputs.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Poster
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Weed management
Research affiliation: International Conferences > 2008: IFOAM OWC: Research Track / ISOFAR > 6.2 Agro-Ecology
Deposited By: Altieri, Dr. Miguel
ID Code:12338
Deposited On:22 Sep 2008
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:36
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted
Additional Publishing Information:This paper is published in the conference proceedings:
Neuhoff, Daniel; Halberg, Niels; Alfldi, Thomas; Lockeretz, William; Thommen, Andreas; Rasmussen, Ilse A.; Hermansen, John; Vaarst, Mette; Lck, Lorna; Carporali, Fabio; Jensen, Henning Hgh; Migliorini, Paola and Willer, Helga, Eds. (2008) .Cultivating the Future Based on Science. Proceedings of the Second Scientific Conference of the International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR), held at the 16th IFOAM Organic World Congress in Cooperation with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and the Consorzio ModenaBio, 18 . 20 June 2008 in Modena, Italy.. International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR), c/o IOL, DE-Bonn, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, CH-Frick. http://orgprints.org/13672 and http://orgprints.org/13674

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