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Crop rotation a key in Integrated Production

"Since always, crop rotation is a key factor in maintaining soil fertility and agricultural productivity. The recent approach standardizing crops in entire regions, repeating the same crops from year to year, had disastrous environmental consequences. In Europe, the situation of bees and wild pollinators shows the crucial role that the current agricultural model could play in the loss of biodiversity. Because this model relies on increased use of highly toxic chemicals to the environment.

However, practicing the rotation, it is possible to use less harmful pesticides while maintaining similar yields. Since 2008, Italy banned the use of seed treatment, so-called essential, "neonicotinoid insecticides."

Since the Italian ban, and also thanks to the crop rotation, corn growers were able to achieve very attractive returns. For 2011, despite the transalpine ban of the neonicotinoids, both Italian farming magazine L’informatore Agrario and Terra e Vita reported a harvest year "record": "This situation (...), unexpected in its dimension, has caused everywhere logistical problems."…

Rotation is an essential tool to reverse the decline of bees and wild pollinators that provide irreplaceable pollination services, currently valued at 28.5 billion U.S.$ per year in Europe, or 21 billion Euro."

- Olivier Belval, President of UNAF ( French Beekeepers Association)

"The history of humanity, the evolution or the collapses of great civilizations have been highly affected by Men's ability to interact in a dynamic and positive way with the whole natural phenomena. The body of knowledge gained over time have been accumulated and translated into agronomic science which has been able to identify crop rotation as a determining factor for the preservation of fertility and agricultural productivity.

The recent claim to unify the whole agricultural landscape with large spaces dominated by mono culture and repeat it over time is an approach which is not harmonious with the natural phenomena but presumptuously claims simply to dominate if not abolish them.

This approach is likely to lead to a disastrous impact. The situation in Europe of bees, the insects, the group of invertebrates, as well as amphibians and birds tells us how and how much the distortions of the current agricultural model is a determining factor in the loss of biodiversity, fertility and life.

This homologated agro-industrial way, as opposed to nature is functional only the sellers of technical means and their marketing approach which presents as necessary a technological/chemical approach, relying on farmers' well-known fear of not being able to get an income.

Since 2008, the experience in the Italian fields of the suspension of the so-called "essential" systemic coated corn seeds, for example, made it clear that it is better to use an efficient and effective crop rotation than the indiscriminate and unacceptable use of chemicals. So much that in Italy, in 2011, without systemic insecticide coated seeds a record production of corn has been achieved, without damage from pests. And in the vast areas planted with corn bees are born again, and we have reasons to believe that this different mode of production has led to a major beneficial effect on other insects, bumblebees, moths, bats. Ultimately, for life and to preserve fertility in the years to come.

A different public capacity is needed to support and address the agricultural production methods. That captures and proposes the crop rotation as the base of a sustainable productivity. This is the necessary precondition for the sustainable conversion of the whole European agriculture."

- Francesco Panella, President of UNAAPI (Italian Beekeepers)

Useful information

PANE positions paper: Contribution on research needs for 2014-2020: Crop rotation – the forgotten practice in European Agriculture

Farming techniques which are part of IP:

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