Argiano SRL Società Agricola (1)

Improved soil management


Argiano SRL Società Agricola (1)

Case Study Contents

About Farm

Farm Name

Argiano SRL Società Agricola

Year of foundation



Siena, Tuscany

Farm area/size of the organisation:

125 ha

Number of workers:

36 workers

Farm main activity:

Vineyards, Olives

Climate and soil characteristics

Mediterranean hilly climate, with coastal influences. Hot summers and mild winters.

Measure Information

Description of the measure

The main operations to manage the soil vary according to the year and to the season.

In October, after the harvest, a deep plough and the seeding of green manure crops are performed, before the autumn rains.

In November, the permanent grass strips are ploughed with a cultivator to increase soil water retention before winter rains.

In April-May, the green manure is cut with a disk harrow and then buried into the soil.

In June, a shallow tillage is performed; then the soil is levelled to facilitate the harvest.

Objective of the measure

To create favourable conditions for the living organisms of the soil is the way to create a buffer effect against biotic and abiotic stresses. A living soil rich in nutrients has an increased water storage and maintains the humidity for longer periods.

Justification of the choice

This is the only available approach to tackle climate change; to modify the soil and strengthen the whole ecosystem to improve the presence of beneficial insects and microorganisms.

Where did You get information of the measure from?

From past experiences and studies of the agronomist in charge of the management of the farm.

Description of the situation before the measure implementation

Before, typical conventional practices were applied, with less attention to the soil and its microbiology.

Implementation phase

Materials used

The same compared with the previous management

  • tractors,
  • sprayers,
  • cultivators,
  • seeds for green manure,
  • weather stations.

Costs for the implementation

A little lower compared to the previous management.

Implementation / building

Only a reorganization was necessary, utilizing the same tools.

Recommended knowledge / skills / training / courses / education desired before starting the measure implementation

  • Agronomic knowledge and experience in sustainable management practices of organic agriculture.
  • Detailed mapping of the soil.
  • Utilization of the local knowledge of the workers of the farm.
  • Deep knowledge of the vineyards and the green manures.


Economically the costs are similar to the previous management. Costs are lower for the reduced use of pesticides and are increased for the use of green manures; overall, they are balanced.
Vines are stronger and the application of treatments are less needed.
Increased trust and awareness from the farmers and other workers of the farm; practicing an “healthy” farming contributes to build a better future for the new generations.
No, this is the only feasible alternative.


Innovation elements

Utilization of advanced technologies (harvesting machines, DSS, tractors that reduce soil compaction, detailed mapping) together with traditional practices and of organic agriculture.

Key element for success

The awareness and the will to take care of the soil is fundamental.


Physical constraints

Some products used have some restrictions and need to be used with caution; hence, their use is partially limited.

Technological constraints

In some cases, regulations to obtain certificates are an obstacle for this kind of management.

Acceptance constraints

Most of the farmers still think that this approach is technically unfeasible and economically unsustainable.

Proposed solutions to above constraints

Increased flexibility in the regulations to understand the main problems of the agronomists operating in the fields.

Lesson learned

Farmers’ experiences

Despite the common thinking about organic agriculture, the shift towards a more sustainable management has not been difficult or expensive.


“It takes little time to destroy a soil and many years to build it back”.

Measure sustainability

Environmental sustainability

The environmental sustainability has significantly improved. By diminishing the treatments, the fuel used is reduced.

Economical sustainability

The economic sustainability of the farm is guaranteed as the costs did not increase.

Transfer of the measure

Replicability conditions required

  • Detailed knowledge of the soil and of its characteristics.
  • Detailed knowledge of the vines and of the green manures.
  • Involvement of farmers by convincing them that an alternative management is feasible and convenient.

Conclusion remarks

To practice “good” agriculture it is necessary to prioritize the soil and the vines. The soil is “living” and must be cared. This approach is the opposite of the conventional one; indeed, the vines express themselves and are not exploited by the farmers. Hence, characteristics are not manipulated, and every wine is the expression of the land, being unique and not standardized.

Future plans

To keep learning to improve the soil management.

To restore the old vineyards using adequate rootstocks.

Open problems

The dissemination of this approach is complicated by the lack of trust and awareness. Also, some teaching at the universities should be modified.


To involve young generations teaching them, both in theory and in practice, this alternative approach, since the new generations are those who will have to take care of the soils in the future.

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