The webinar "Carbon under our feet" was held on May 5, 2020 as part of the Italy-Croatia GECO2 project; the 7 reports presented by researchers and specialists have deepened the topic of conservation and increase of organic matter in agricultural soils, each for its own field of expertise. Thanks to these interventions that dealt with the general theme from very heterogeneous points of view, it was possible to give a complex and articulated perspective to such a broad topic. More than 150 listeners attended the event.
Below you can read a summary of the interventions:
Vittorio Marletto of Arpae introduced the webinar and briefly presented the objectives of the GECO2 project to the virtual audience.
Afterwards, Enrico Ceotto of CREA presented the first intervention entitled 'Crop systems and organic carbon in the soil: the response of long-term experiments (LTE)'.
Dr. Ceotto presented the data coming from a long experimental campaign indicating an increase in the soil organic carbon for the no-tilled permanent meadow while the arable crop systems show only slight increases in the carbon content in the soil, even in the case in which bovine manure is applied annually. This brings to practical agronomic indications useful in a context of mitigation of climate change in agro-ecosystems.
The theme of organic carbon in soils in the livestock sector was then faced. Paolo Mantovi (Fondazione CRPA Studi Ricerche) intervened on this. He presented the contribution "Good agricultural practices for the maintenance / increase of the organic substance in soils".
Some good conservative agriculture practices and good practices in the use of zootechnical effluents have been described to increase the organic matter content in the soils. Besides it was shown the results obtained on these topics in various projects funded by the Emilia-Romagna Region.
Guido Bezzi of the Italian Biogas Consortium ( Consorzio Italiano Biogas CIB) also made his contribution on the use of organic matter from the livestock sector with the intervention entitled "Digestate in agriculture: soil fertilization turning from NPK to CNPK". The long-term effects of digestate on soil fertility were illustrated by applying a conservative and innovative agronomic model. Furthermore, the evolution of fertilization techniques for the efficient use of digestate in various crops has been described.
'Application of organic matter in the orchard: effect on soil and on the nutritional status of plants' is the title of the speech by Elena Baldi, DISTAL University of Bologna. In this part of the webinar, the focus has shifted to experimentation in the orchard. The results of the organic fertilization of a peach orchard collected in 12 years have been illustrated. It has emerged that most of the C applied by means of compost can be considered able to act as a sink in the soil because of slow degradation. Organic fertilization has also led to an increase in nitrogen soil content as well as an improvement in the chemical and biological fertility of the soil. From this experimentation it emerged that compost is an excellent alternative in the management of fertilizing a peach orchard.
"Operational Groups of Emilia-Romagna in action on monitoring the content of organic matter in agricultural soils" is the report by Carla Scotti, I. Ter. The report showed that knowledge and monitoring of soils are fundamental to support the choice of good agro-environmental management practices and to enhance the role of farmers, as custodians of the soil and landscape as well as producers of typical products. The need to know and to monitor the soil is therefore the basis for the formation of operational groups in Emilia-Romagna.The latters’ main results were illustrated in the vineyards, orchards, fruit chestnuts and meadows.
Finally, Giovanni Ferrucci of Enomondo with the presentation "Quality compost to combat the lack of organic substance in the soil", introduced the concept of CAVIRO about circular economy applied to the agricultural and agro-industrial world. In this last intervention, the perspective has further shifted to the aspects of compost production, showing a series of soil amendments that his company produces starting from the residues of the wine supply chain.