How organic farmers practice conservation agriculture in Europe

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Series Details Volume 31, Number 1, Pages 72-85
Publication Date February 2016
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The interest of organic farmers in adopting conservation agriculture principles, including minimal soil disturbance, permanent soil cover and crop rotation has been growing since the early 2000s. However, currently there is no network for organic farmers practicing conservation agriculture, and a lack of knowledge on how organic farmers implement conservation agriculture in practice. Consequently, few technical references are available for organic farmers when they start applying conservation agriculture practices, in particular on controlling weeds without the use of herbicides.

The main objectives of this study were: (1) to explore the diversity of conservation agriculture techniques (i.e., reduced tillage, no-tillage and green manures) practiced among European farmers, and (2) to identify farmers’ main strategies for implementing conservation agriculture and the agronomic and environmental factors that determine these strategies. Strategies were identified by analyzing survey results on: (1) the type and degree of use of conservation agriculture practices by farmers, and (2) the effects it produces in terms of soil disturbance and soil cover (low, medium and high).à

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