Organic No-Till with Roller Crimpers: Agro-ecosystem Services and Applications in Organic Mediterranean Vegetable Productions

  •  Stefano Canali    
  •  Mariangela Diacono    
  •  Gabriele Campanelli    
  •  Francesco Montemurro    


In sustainable/organic farming systems, Agro-ecological Service Crops (ASC) may provide many beneficial ecosystem services, when they are introduced as buffer zones, living mulches or break crops. This outlook paper focuses on: i) the role of ASC genotype and mixtures as catch crops for soil mineral nitrogen (NO3-) surplus, which is returned to the system after their termination; ii) living mulches and break crops management strategies, particularly comparing ploughing under (green manure) with termination by roller crimper; iii) summary of three recent case studies that have assessed the effectiveness of ASC management by no-till with roller crimper for tomato, zucchini and melon crops, under Mediterranean conditions. Recently, in central Italy yield and quality results on organic tomato indicated that this crop was suitable following termination of leguminous ASC by roller crimping. Similarly, this ASC management increased yield by about 70% compared to green manure in zucchini crop. In southern Italy, no substantial differences were found in the ASC management and organic fertilizer interactions in organic melon, confirming the suitability of matching these strategies to sustain crop production. More studies should be encouraged to further empower the use of ASC in a wide range of agro-climatic conditions. Furthermore, additional studies on the roller crimper should be performed, mainly to understand the dynamic of N mineralisation in the soil-mulch interface and synchronisation of N release with cash crop N requirements. Finally, Decision Supporting Systems (DSS) for ASC introduction into vegetable cropping systems should be developed.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-050X
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-0518
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: quarterly

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