Conservation Agriculture (CA)

Conservation Agriculture (CA) is a farming system that can prevent losses of arable land while regenerating degraded lands. It promotes maintenance of a permanent soil cover, minimum soil disturbance, and diversification of plant species. It enhances biodiversity and natural biological processes above and below the ground surface, which contribute to increased water and nutrient use efficiency and to improved and sustained crop production.

Conservation Agriculture is a response to sustainable land management, environmental protection and climate change adaptation and mitigation. FAO promotes the adoption of Conservation Agriculture principles (minimal soil disturbance, permanent soil cover and crop rotations) that are universally applicable in all agricultural landscapes and cropping systems.

Conservation Agriculture is based on three main principles (which are adapted to local conditions and needs):

  • Continuous minimum mechanical soil disturbance with direct seeding (i.e. no-tillage). The disturbed area must be less
    than 15 cm wide or less than 25% of the cropped area (whichever is lower). Mechanical disturbance should be limited to
    the purpose of placing seed or fertilizer. This fights against soil erosion and preserves soil organisms.
  • Permanent soil organic cover with crop residues and/or cover crops to the extent allowed by water availability. Ground
    cover is measured immediately after the direct seeding operation, and the area should have over 30% cover. This allows
    the retention of a protective layer of vegetation on the soil surface to suppress weeds, protect the soil from the impact of
    weather and avoid soil compaction.
  • Species diversification through varied crop sequences and associations involving at least three different crops. A well-designed
    crop rotation promotes good soil structure, fosters a diverse range of soil flora and fauna that contribute to nutrient cycling and
    plant nutrition, and prevents phytosanitary diseases.



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  • Tasos on December 8, 2021 @ 19:07:47

This post was created by Concha Avila on September 20, 2021.