Farmer Field Schools
ConServeTerra puts a lot of emphasis on Farmer Field Schools (FFS), as such they are regularly organized in the participating countries. During 2022 two sessions were conducted in Spain. For 2023 around 8 sessions are planned. At these sessions a fixed group of interested farmers meet, discuss and learn about soil.
Starting in 2022, the focus was on soil conservation, quality, health, identification, description and analysis. During the meeting basic techniques for farm soil characterization were discussed and shown.
During the last session of 2022 in November the focus was on soil conservation techniques. Farmers started with the comparison of different types of soil erosion and their respective effects also using videos and pictures.
Different techniques such as direct seeding or windbreaks and buffer strips were listed and discussed with possible advantages and disadvantages. Farmers identified which of the proposed soil conservation practices they already applied on their farms. Those were mainly crop rotation, direct sowing, cover crops, windbreaks and buffer strips.
Other techniques such as strip cropping were described as possible to implement. First steps would include reducing the frequency and depth of tillage, maintaining the vegetation on the margins, leaving the stubble on the soil, or growing green manure during the summer and until the next sowing so that there would be no soil exposed.
Figure 1. Farmers discussing soil conservation techniques during the FFS session in Gallecs (Spain), November 2022. Photo: L. Rueda
Figure 2. Farmers attending the FFS session about soil management and erosion, Gallecs (Spain), January 2023. Photos: L. Rueda
January 2023 session was about soil management and erosion.
General properties of a good soil were discussed and simple tests were shown how to determine the stability of soil aggregates or the water infiltration capacity of the soil.
It was also shown how to test for water erosion in relation to soil management.
Figure 3. Some of the tests carried out during the session: infiltration test (left) and soil aggregates stability test (right), Gallecs (Spain), January 2023. Photos: L. Rueda
The next session will be at the end of February 2023 and will deal with weed control in conservation agriculture. Further sessions that are planned for this year will focus on cover crops, practical farm visits and crop rotation and association.
For more information, please contact Laura Rueda firstname.lastname@example.org