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The Diverfarming project study compares the environmental impact and economic performance of traditional mandarin monocultures compared to growing mandarins with grasses and using scarce irrigation


Transformation to intensive agriculture led to agricultural practices in Europe, which have focused on increasing yields and reducing costs in recent decades and which include a high reliance on external sources of agrochemicals and energy. These intensive monoculture systems have led to the loss of biodiversity, water pollutionand high greenhouse gas emissions, as well as soil degradation and declining ecosystem services.

Faced with this situation, the European Diverfarming project tested the diversification of crops across the European Union, seeking Best practices bring crops together and focus on reducing costs to find better options for maintaining systems resilience and enhancing the resilience of the European agricultural sector. This also requires knowing the implications of these practices at both the environmental and economic levels.

For the purpose of cognition ecological footprint and economic performance of introducing herbaceous crops among mandarin tree oils through a controlled irrigation shortage in a mandarin grove located in the Murcia region, a team of researchers from the Political University of Cartagena assessed the crop life cycle and case study was conducted.

Although the area under cultivation has increased with the introduction of cereals (in this case purslane, cowpea, beans and barley-wiki mixture), no harmful effects in terms of resource depletion, oxidation or global warming have occurred. Thus, the practice of co-sowing did not cause additional pollution or other effects on the environment. This, in addition to the results of increasing nitrogen and organic carbon content in the soil as well as reducing erosion and runoff, makes the introduction of herbaceous crops in mandarin oil a good environmental option to combat the current problems of the sector.

In economic terms, the financial security of the agricultural community is also becoming a key element for the successful implementation of diversified systems. This study emphasizes, through an economic assessment, that co-cultivation can lead to increased production costs, mainly due to greater demand for labor compared to the monopopulation. However, the study also concludes that “the right choice of interaction methods can bring economic benefits”. The results showed that harvesting mandarins with purslane and legumes as intermediate crops could be profitable and reduce the risk for growers from volatile prices for the main crop.

Thus, given all the potential environmental and economic benefits of co-cultivation practices, these systems emerge as a tool for the transition to more sustainable and profitable agricultural systems. Valarization of agricultural products, which is more respectful of the environment by consumers, and support for public funding (such as direct assistance to producers who introduce co-crops) are key aspects that contribute to the adoption of this practice.

The study was published in Agriculture.


The interaction of melon and cowpea improves soil nutrition and increases melon yield


Additional information:
Bernardo Martin-Goris et al., Practice Mediterranean Mandarin Gardens from an Environmental and Economic Perspective, Agriculture (2022). DOI: 10.3390 / Agriculture12050574

Citation: Positive for the environment and for producers: Benefits of introducing herbaceous crops among mandarin trees (2022, May 17) obtained on May 17, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-05-positive-environment-grower – benefits-herbaceous.html

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