Open day at the experimental farm; De Rusthoeve in Zeeland, The Netherlands

29 June 2019 - Published by Paula Nijman
During the open day at the experimental farm; De Rusthoeve in Zeeland, The Netherlands on 19th of June, The Southern Agricultural and Horticultural Organization (ZLTO) showed attention to the Carbon Farming theme in their stand on the fair. A simulation showed the water holding capacity of different types of soils with different soil carbon levels. The deputy of the province of Zeeland Jo-Annes de Bat and ZLTO Zeeland chairman Joris Baecke demonstrated this simulation.

Water storage capacity of the soil

By applying soil carbon sequestration techniques landowners can increase the carbon content and the organic matter content in the soil. The simulation in the ZLTO stand shows different types of soil that are unprocessed or treated with a certain soil management technique. As a result, the soil samples have a difference in organic matter content and therefore, a difference in water permeability.

Drought or extreme rainfall is an increasing phenomenon in the changing climate. With a better water storage capacity, the soil acts like a sponge and can better absorb these weather extremes (retain water in the event of drought or absorb more quickly in case of heavy rainfall in a short time).

Minimal soil tillage (less to no ploughing) and the use of green or organic fertilizers are examples to increase the water storage capacity of the soil.

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The soil as a key in the climate story

This story fits everything into the overall theme of the open day: circular agriculture. A healthy soil is essential for circular agriculture. It is therefore important that we manage the agricultural soils in a good way for now and future generations.

The agricultural sector faces a challenge to reduce emissions. The soil has a key role in the solution to the climate problem. Carbon capture or sequestration has several advantages for soil, crop and environment: increasing the organic matter content, a better water storage and nutrient retention capacity, a greater biodiversity and a better soil structure. The agricultural sector is, apart from forestry, the only sector that can store carbon in the soil.

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