INSPIA: Spanish farmer Pedro on best management practices for sustainable productive agriculture

I belong to the twelfth generation that worked this land. As it is natural, when I took over this farm, I started with
traditional farming. Like all my neighbours. Based on technical information and my concern
with the environment and climate change, I became aware that I should start implementing more
environmentally committed farming methods. And I decided to implement conservation agriculture. The benefits of good farming practices with
regard to the soil (which is our main asset) mean that we don’t destroy it but improve its health. In terms of soil protection, we use a low pressure tyres,
which prevents soil compaction and soil erosion. We share the weight of the tractor p/cm2 along a larger
surface area, and the total weight is more balanced. Another important factor is direct seeding. No ploughing. Direct seeding starts…with the stubble from the previous crop. Not ploughing soils facilitates the decomposition of roots
by soil microorganisms. This process improves soil structure, increasing the organic matter content and creating
inner channels that improve water infiltration. This requires the use of machinery capable of
sowing on this soil so that plants grow properly. Two different practices are used here: we keep shrubs
around the plots surrounded by streams or watercourses and we maintain them to create a sort of screen to prevent
treatment or fertilizer drift from reaching the watercourses. And we also plant multi-flower strips that do the same
job and increase the biodiversity of pollinating insects. When we plan a treatment, we study the possibility of
a change in direction of the wind during application. So before going out into the field we
have decided which nozzle to use. And if conditions change, we change the type of the nozzle
to obtain a thicker drop that the wind cannot blow away. The greatest benefit from joining INSPIA is that
the agri-environmental measures I put into practice, following its proposals, increase productivity and the
quality of my crops and they also assess the results, which is very important as it shows whether
we are really doing things properly or not. Best management practices, as oppose to traditional farming, are certainly beneficial because they make it more sustainable as they don’t disturb the soil, increase
biodiversity and prevent erosion and they increase the soil organic matter,
which makes the activity more sustainable and allow us to have better productivity in
the future than with traditional farming. But the role played by the plant protection product
is of similar importance in both types of farming. It is vital to continue to produce sufficient
quality food to feed the population.

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