Organic farming is a management system which to an essential extent protects the natural environment, for example by preventing soil erosion. The objective of the research was to determine the effect of organic and conventional cultivation of cereals on the volume of soil losses and on the amount of plant nutrients washed away from the stands where the cereals were sown. A two-factor field experiment was carried out over a period from 2013 to 2016 at the Mountain Experimental Station situated in Czyrna near Krynica Górska (Poland). Experimental plots were set up on Eutri-Gleyic Cambisols, developed from eluvium of flysch rocks. The first factor included two farming systems: organic and conventional. The second factor involved three spring crops grown in pure stands: spring barley, spring triticale, and oats as well as three mixtures of cereals: spring barley + oats, spring barley + spring triticale, spring triticale + oats. The experimental plots were 22 m x 2 m in size. The soil losses were measured with the use of Słupik catchers. Based on the experiment results, it was found that on the stands with cereals grown using the conventional system, the losses of the following components were, on average, higher, i.e. the N-NO3 losses: 55.8% higher, the N-NH4 losses: 72.2% higher, and the P and K losses: 60.0% and 48.3% higher, respectively. As regards the soil loss, no statistically significant differences were found between the two farming systems. The cultivation of spring barley and mixture of spring barley + oats turned out to be the best at protecting the soil. Oats grown in pure stands were the least soil protective. The Leaf Area Index (LAI) applied to characterize the canopy of the organically grown cereals was 14% smaller than that of the cereals grown in the conventional system.
Klima K., Lepiarczyk A., Chowaniak M., Boligłowa E. 2019. Soil protective efficiency of organic cultivation of cereals. J. Elem., 24(1): 357 - 368. DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2018.23.2.1610