Charalambos Charalambous

Vetch for green fertilization

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Charalambos Charalambous

Case Study Contents

About Farm

Farm Name

Charalambos Charalambous

Year of foundation

1992

Location

Kiti, Larnaca

Farm area/size of the organisation:

25 ha

Number of workers:

4 workers

Farm main activity:

General field crops (Cereals), Olives, Horticulture

Climate and soil characteristics

White light soil with increased moisture.

Mild winters and hot summers, with low precipitation and high humidity.

Measure Information

Description of the measure

Crop rotation in a 3-year cycle.

In the 1st year, cereals are seeded in the selected field. In the 2nd year, vetch is seeded and after blooming, incorporated in the soil. In the 3rd year, cereals are seeded again.

Objective of the measure

To improve soil structure by increasing soil fertility and organic matter, and to supply nitrogen to the cereal crop by rising up the level of available nitrogen in the soil.

Justification of the choice

Vetch is a leguminous plant which fixes nitrogen. By incorporating it into the soil, it benefits the crops that will follow in the next years. Additionally, it leaves the field clean from weeds; hence, the field can be cultivated more easily.

Where did You get information of the measure from?

Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment

Description of the situation before the measure implementation

Not good soil structure with low organic matter, high moistures and many weeds.

Stakeholders

Stakeholders involved

Cyprus Agricultural Payment Organisation (CAPO)

Description of stakeholders’ role

Important financial support because in the year of vetch cultivation there is no production and no income.

Implementation phase

Materials used

  • Seeds,
  • Disc Harrow,
  • Rototiller,
  • Multidisc.

Costs for the implementation

Costs are high to apply the program correctly, with increased labour hours and machinery inputs.

Utilization of subsidies

Yes.

Implementation / building

Hangar for agricultural machinery.

Required maintenance operations

Machinery maintenance.

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

Seminar at Department of Agriculture.

Impacts

  • Better quality of the cereal product with a higher selling price and increased profitability
  • Reduced need for herbicides and other pesticides, leading to reduced cost for weed control and plant protection
  • 100% environmental-friendly (reducing pollution, erosion and weed pressure)
  • Protect Water Quality (cover crops reduce nonpoint source pollution caused by sediments, nutrients and agricultural chemicals)
  • Conserve Soil Moisture
By reducing the use of pesticides and herbicides, it is safer for the workers of the farm and people in general.
No production during the year of vetch crop because it is used for green fertilization.

Innovation

Key element for success

Strict adherence to the program to achieve a remarkable result.

Constraints

Physical constraints

  • In stony soils it is difficult to incorporate the vetch into the soil;
  • when the vetch grows very tall with a lot of moisture is more difficult for the farmer to incorporate it into the soil.

Technological constraints

Special machines are needed which the farmer may not have.

Proposed solutions to above constraints

  • To increase the state support of the measure;
  • financial aid to purchase machinery that can be used for better results of the program.

Lesson learned

Farmers’ experiences

After the use of this practice fields are more productive, enriched with nitrogen and clean from weeds.

Measure sustainability

Environmental sustainability

Apart from the reduced water needs due to the higher moisture maintained in the field, it is a natural method that fixes nitrogen and contributes to the nitrogen requirements of subsequent crops and also suppresses weeds in the field at around 45%. This ensures the environmental sustainability of the farm.

Economical sustainability

In the long term, the improvement of soil fertility ensures a better quality of wheat, higher prices and greater and sustainable profitability.

Transfer of the measure

Replicability conditions required

  • The financial support of the state (in this case the CAPO) to sustainable agricultural practices is fundamental.
  • The method is applicable in fields with stony soil with moisture, and in fields that suffer from intensive use of chemical fertilization, pesticides and weed control.
  • Special machinery/equipment is required.
  • Strict adherence to the 3-year cultivation program in order to fully realize the benefits of the technique.

Conclusion remarks

This measure is good for supporting environmental and human friendly practices and provides economic benefits to the farmer. With the use of vetch cultivation in a 3-year program, the farmer reduces the use of chemicals and ensures a better quality of production.

Future plans

Even if the subsidies are abolished, the farmer plans to continue the specific agricultural practice because of the environmental and economic benefits for his farm.

Open problems

Need for better technical support to apply the measure and to buy the special machinery equipment.

AGRIWATER project has been funded with the support from the European Commission, with the reference number 2020-1-CZ01-KA204-078212. The content of this website reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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