Monsano (AN), Marche
The first in Italy at the same time Agricultural, Innovative and Benefit, this young and dynamic enterprise focuses on agricultural multifunctionality, also offering a wide range of organic crops produced and marketed (direct sale) with plastic free packaging and “Qualità Marche” recognition for maximum product traceability. Active in research, sustainability and social work, with activation of various integration projects and networking of local organic producers.
The main problems of farm soils relate to the reduction of organic matter, high salinity levels, and problems with the management and balance of soil properties.
More generally, looking at the Marche region, according to the RUSLE model, it is also found that the risk of water erosion of the region’s soils does not show such a pronounced magnitude of the phenomenon but is, on the other hand, extensive over the territory. The greatest problems are found in the hillside where land use appears to be more agricultural.
For these reasons Vallesina Bio has decided to embark on a path of soil protection and regeneration through the use of good practices in agriculture.
REDUCTION OR ALTERNATIVES TO INORGANIC FERTILIZERS
In order to effect an improvement in the condition of farm soils, trials are conducted with different types of compost, fertilizers and with different application techniques; for example, microseed and horse manure are used. Part of the organic matter used is obtained by composting the organic fraction and farm waste, so a utilization of the waste produced takes place, ensuring a closed cycle within the farm.
To further improve its results, the farm also conducts vermiculture.
ORGANIC MATTER MANAGEMENT
For the purpose of increasing the organic carbon content of their soils, another experimental trial consists of adding biochar to the soil and performing biochar-added soil covers with mulching sheets. To keep the soil covered, where no trials are conducted, they use biodegradable and organic mulches, obtained by shredding plant waste and prunings produced on the farm.
The addition of these soil conditioners allows the improvement of the physical and chemical characteristics of the soil, going to improve the structure of aggregates, porosity, availability of available nutrients and in general the content of organic matter (with an increase verified by the company of +1-1.5%).
TILLAGE AND SOIL MANAGEMENT
To solve soil management problems, reduce the farm’s environmental impacts, and improve soil microflora and microfauna so that its structure is improved, they resort to minimum tillage: the only operations they carry out on the soil are a 10-15 cm tillage, passage with disc harrow, rotary harrow, and vibro, and finally for sowing they use precision machinery.
INCREASED CROP DIVERSITY AND LAND COVER
As for cover crops, they prefer to set the rotation by giving value to regrowth of fallen legume seed (field bean), preferred to the classic green manure mix. Thanks to Conapi and Coprob, special multi-year beekeeping mixes have also been tested for organic buffer strips. Participation in the INCREASE project regarding beans and enhancement of Ceccarelli and Evoldur evolutionary populations for seed reproduction.
GLOBAL SYSTEM APPROACH
Vallesina Bio is an all-around environmental concern, carrying out land management through its own agriculture and the creation of an educational farm, working the fields and caring for the environment from a social point of view; in fact, Vallesina Bio has embarked on a path of work with disabled boys and girls, structuring workshop and work projects.