Argentina: Planting vetch after sugarcane harvest improves soils
Innovation & Technology
Published Dec 1, 2023
Researchers from INTA Famaillá in Argentina have developed a sugarcane-Vicia villosa intercropping system that has shown advantages over monoculture in terms of ecosystem services. The system involves planting the legume Vicia villosa during the period when sugarcane growth is low due to frost and low temperatures. This legume helps control weeds, reduces the need for fertilizers and herbicides, and improves soil nutrition and yield.
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"Knowledge of the harmful effects of cultivation on the environment motivated us, in 2018, to begin research on the use of ecosystem service crops in sugarcane," explained Luciana Martínez Calsina, researcher at INTA Famaillá and member of the Crops Group. Industrials that focuses on the development of this technology within the framework of the projects of the National Industrial Crops Program of INTA. In this sense, the specialist pointed out that in early sugarcane harvests - in June and July - and extra-early - in May - there is a period of four to six months in which the crop does not develop or shows low growth rates due to frost, low temperatures and low to no probability of rain. "In this period it is possible to associate the cultivation of Vicia villosa variety Ascasubi INTA, which is a legume with a creeping habit and growth in autumn-winter-spring, with the harvested batch of sugar cane," indicated Martinez Calsina, who explained that "this legume -in symbiosis with ...