RESULTS ACTIONS IMPLEMENTATION
The aim of this action is to implement all the possible GHPs promoted by the project on the same farm, so that this farm can become a reference and be able to transfer the knowledge acquired there to the networks established on a regional and transnational scale.
Five demonstration trials have been set up on the farm to carry out the following studies:
- Influence of management on the production and quality of winter cereal.
- Influence of management on the production of oilseed crops.
- Improvement of productivity in carbon use with the use of biostimulants in winter cereals.
- Use of new fertiliser molecules to improve carbon productivity in winter cereal crops.
- Fertiliser reduction usingbiostimulants in winter cereal.
The results achieved to date have been as follows:
- In all cases, no-tillage reduced operational times and diesel consumption compared to tillage by around 60 %.
- In maize, micro-tillage has been carried out in the direct sowing row, which has produced a very similar birth to tillage (the main problem of this management compared to conventional) but has managed to increase production by around 10% in the two seasons under study.
- In wheat, the harvest was increased on all occasions with the use of biostimulants compared to the control, by around 15 %. Despite the increase in yield, grain quality was almost unaffected. But biostimulants were more efficient in nitrogen use by producing more protein than tillag in about 10%.
- The more technology is applied to the fertiliser, the better results are obtained in the parameters studied. Not only producing more, but also increasing the quality and the Carbon Use Productivity.
- In all the indicators, no-tillage gave the same or in most cases better results than conventional tillage.
- In all cases, no-tillage reduced emissions significantly compared to tillage, by around 25% for wheat and 15% for maize and barley.
The objective of this action is to implement the GAPs identified and defined in action A.1 on a regional scale on the network of farms selected in action A.3 throughout the duration of the project. This will make it possible to validate the methodology for carbon calculation at this scale, in addition to demonstrating the applicability of GAPs on commercial farms.
To this end, a protocol has been designed to quantify the Carbon Footprint in the production phase of crops, which includes a methodology that not only takes into account the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions associated with all the processes that occur in the establishment and development phase of the crop from sowing to harvesting, but also considers the offsets that the implementation of agricultural practices that increase carbon sequestration in the soil, such as Conservation Agriculture, can have on emissions, both in its application in extensive herbaceous crops (no-till) as well as in woody crops (ground covers).
As part of the development of action tasks, agri-environmental audits are being carried out on each of the farms that make up the study network on a regional scale. These audits include the indicators defined in action A2, the values of which are being compiled in the framework of action D5 and serve to assess the sustainability of the farms in terms of the application degree of the GAPs identified in the project, and to make recommendations for improvements in the management system used.
Currently, two study campaigns have been completed on the 36 demonstration farms, with 72 agri-environmental audits carried out. In general terms, with the data collected to date, the following conclusions can be drawn:
- The values obtained already show an advantage in the three study areas (environmental, economic and social) of those farms that have implemented Conservation Agriculture practices with respect to those that are managed conventionally.
- As in the global indicators, farms under CA show higher values in the indicators related to carbon sequestration than farms under conventional tillage, because of the number of years in which no-tillage or ground covers have been implemented.
For more details, see the results of actions D1, D4 and D5.
This action aims to replicate the implementation of GAPs established on a pilot scale and on a regional scale in the European Mediterranean basin, creating a network of farms in Portugal, Italy and Greece, having previously defined the agro-climatic sectors in each country with the same methodology used in action A.2.
One of the results obtained in the framework of this action is a meta-analysis to know the current situation regarding the knowledge gathered in the scientific literature on C fixation in the soil at European level, thanks to the use of Conservation Agriculture.
The objective of the action is to develop a software tool for mobile devices, which can quantify the carbon content in the soil by taking photographs, and which calculates, based on the management system used in the crop, the CO2 equivalent associated with energy consumption, giving GHG emission reduction values thanks to the use of the GAPs used in the project.
The tool will soon be available for download on mobile devices.
Through the development of this action, the aim is to guarantee an effective participation of the agents of the agricultural sector in the project, through a strategy that favours the transfer, replication and sustainability of the project. To this end, in addition to the development of a Governance and Sustainability Plan (DOWNLOAD), the creation of three working groups in different areas is envisaged, integrating professionals from the agricultural sector, both at scientific, political and technical level namely: the Impact Advisory Board (IAB), the Governance Forum and the Farmers for Climate Network, respectively.
Two meetings were held in relation to the IAB, and two recommendation reports were generated as a result of the discussions held at these meetings. The first of the meetings held, corresponding to the meeting held in 2020, focused on establishing a SWOT matrix on carbon-sequestering agricultural practices based on existing scientific knowledge and on defining the aspects to be taken into account in the new CAP to facilitate the implementation of carbon-sequestering agricultural practices through the implementation of legislative measures (eco-schemes, agri-environmental measures). The second meeting, held in 2022, focused on presenting the results of the project achieved to date and on shedding light on the tools that can be provided from research for the control and monitoring of both Conservation Agriculture practices and the carbon content in soils.
In relation to the Governance Forum, meetings have been held with different agents in the sector, both public and private, including the following entities:
- Spanish Climate Change Office.
- Directorate General for Agricultural Productions and Markets (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Spanish Government).
- Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture (ALAS).
- National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA).
- Ministry of Ecological Transition of the Spanish Government.
- General Secretariat of Agriculture and Food and the Coordinator of the Analysis and Prospective Area of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the Government of Spain.
- Agriculture Commission of the Spanish Congress of Deputies.
- Agriculture and Environment Committee of the European Parliament.
- Standing Legislative Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Senate.
- Partnership National Strategic Plan of the PAC.
- Ministries of Agriculture of Castilla y León, Castilla La Mancha, Aragón, Catalonia and Extremadura.
Regarding the Farmers for Climate Network, various meetings have been held with several of the groups established for this purpose, to ascertain the main challenges for the implementation of GAPs on farms.
The milestones that have taken place around governance and, directly or indirectly, the tasks of this action that have served to contribute to achieve them are:
- Conservation Agriculture included in the Commission document on eco-scheme proposals under Carbon Farming.
- Conservation Agriculture included in three of the seven eco-schemes proposed by the Ministry in the framework of the new CAP.
- Increase in the number of seeding machines registered in ROMA.
- Plan Renove 2020: 63% of the budget used for direct seeding machines (84.9 million €).
- Plan Renove 2021: 64% budget used for direct seeding machines (€4.2 million).
- Conservation Agriculture included in the Communication Sustainable Carbon Cycles COM (2021) 800 final.