Restoration of soil fertility and management of mineral nutrition in a peach orchard under a sustainable farming system in semi-arid conditions
One of the main environmental challenges of the 21st century is to face the increase in soil degradation. Nowadays, there is evidence that sustainable orchard management practices can contribute to increasing the SOC, reducing soil CO2 emissions, recovering soil fertility and increasing yields. The main objective of this research was to improve the mineral nutrition management, considering soil fertility parameters and N mineralization, in a peach orchard managed under alternative agricultural practices. One of the most important agronomic practices is irrigation, which is essential for plant production and can increase nutrients availability through soil N and C mineralization, with a direct effect on soil quality. The monitoring of soil nitrates and soil quality index (Nc/Nk ratio) along the row (R), wetted and along the inter-row (I), rain-fed, in the orchard under localized irrigation was performed. The results revealed spatial (R, I) and seasonal variability of soil nitrates and soil quality. This study shows that the long-term adoption of localized irrigation and of sustainable agricultural practices has positive effects on soil quality, with benefits to the stability of the whole agro-ecosystem.
Mininni, A.N., Dichio, B., Pascazio, S., Fausto, C., Crecchio, C., Sofo, A. and Xiloyannis, C. (2018). Restoration of soil fertility and management of mineral nutrition in a peach orchard under a sustainable farming system in semi-arid conditions. Acta Hortic. 1217, 257-262
sustainable soil management, localized irrigation, microbial biomass, nitrate soil content