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The Great Hunger of 2008. Rioting in response to soaring food prices recently has broken out in Egypt, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Ethiopia. In Pakistan and Thailand, army troops have been deployed to deter food theft from fields and warehouses. .

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Presentation Transcript
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Rioting in response to soaring food prices recently has broken out in Egypt, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Ethiopia. In Pakistan and Thailand, army troops have been deployed to deter food theft from fields and warehouses.

slide4

Intensive tillage, soil erosion, and insufficient added residues

Soil Degradation

Aggregates break down

Soil organic matter decreases

Increased erosion by wind and water

Surface becomes compacted, crust forms

Less soil water storage, less diversity of soil organism, fewer nutrients for plants

More soil organic matter is lost

Crop yields are reduced

Hunger and malnutrition result

slide5

… it is our work with living soil that provides sustainable alternatives to the triple crises of climate, energy, and food. No matter how many songs on your iPod, cars in your garage, or books on your shelf, it is plants’ ability to capture solar energy that is at the root of it all. Without fertile soil, what is life?

—VANDANA SHIVA, 2008

slide6

Building Healthy Soils

Fred Magdoff

fmagdoff@uvm.edu

slide8

Aggregates after stability test

% of aggregates stable to 1.25cm rain/5mins:

2mm sieves

Conventional management

~20% - low

Organic

management

~70% - high

slide10

Add

organic

matter

Increased biological activity

(& diversity)

Reduced

soil-borne diseases,

parasitic nematodes

Aggregation

increased

Decomposition

Humus and other

growth promoting

substances

Pore structure

improved

Nutrients

released

Harmful substances detoxified

Improved tilth

and water storage

HEALTHY PLANTS

slide11

carbon dioxide (CO2)

(0.04% in the atmosphere)

root respiration

and soil organic

matter

decomposition

photosynthesis

respiration

in stems

and leaves

crop harvest

crop and

animal

residues

carbon in

soil

organic matter

erosion

slide12

Overall strategies of ecologically-based agriculture

a) create soil & above

ground conditions for

healthy plants with

enhanced defenses

b) stress pests

c) enhance beneficials

slide13

Prevention (of symptoms and consequences of weak ecosystem)

Build internal strengths into agricultural ecosystem

Routine ecologically sound practices during season to keep plants healthy

Reactive management

slide14

Preventive management

pre-season through planting time

(building internal strengths into the system)

  • create soil & above

ground conditions for

healthy plants with

enhanced defenses

  • stress pests
  • enhance beneficials

1. Crop/plant selection

& planting management;

habitat conservation

& enhancement of field

and surroundings

2. Build healthy soil

(below ground

habitat conservation

& enhancement)

slide15

Building Healthy Soil

1. Add plentiful amounts of organic materials from crop residues (including cover crops) well as off-field organic materials such as animal manures and composts.

slide17

Building Healthy Soils

2. Keep the soil covered with living vegetation and/or crop residue.

slide18

Use cover crops or perennial sod cover routinely.

  • Reduce tillage intensity.
  • Supplies food and habitat for maintaining biodiversity (helps beneficials at expense of pests)
  • Suppresses weeds, insect, and disease cycles
  • Helps grow healthier plants because:
    • a) development of better soil tilth

b) supplies nutrients and soil holds water better

c) lessens compaction

d) etc.

slide20

Building Healthy Soils

3. Use better crop rotations.

slide21

Building Healthy Soils

4. Reduce tillage intensity.

slide22

Many different reduced till systems — conservation till, ridge till, zone-till, no-till.

  • Better planters help.
  • Cover crops can help.
slide24

Building Healthy Soils

5. Use other practices that reduce runoff and erosion.

slide25

Building Healthy Soils

6. Reduce severity of compaction.

slide26

Don’t travel on wet soils.

  • A lasting injury is done by ploughing
  • land too wet.
  • S.L. Dana, 1842
slide27

Use controlled traffic lanes (“permanent” beds).

  • Better load distribution.
  • Increase organic matter.
  • Etc.
slide28

Building Healthy Soils

7. Use best management techniques to supply nutrients to plants without degrading the environment.

slide29

Farm boundary

farm-grown crops

crops

crop residues

fertilizers, lime, organic amendments

leaching, runoff, and volatilization

soil

Nutrient Cycles vs. Nutrient Flows

slide30

Use

Multiple Tactics

Better nutrient

timing, placement,

and amounts

Reduce

tillage

Reduce

compaction

Cover crops

Healthier Crops

Better

rotations

Control

erosion

Add various sources of

organic materials (crop residues,

manures, composts, etc.)