SoildiverAgro meeting discussed how to improve soil biodiversity in nemoral region

Soil samples.

On October 30th, Estonian University of Life Sciences and non-profit MTÜ Põllukultuuride klaster conducted the regional virtual meeting with cereal crop producers and other stakeholders to discuss their agronomic problems and challenges related to soil management and possibilities for increasing biodiversity.  The seminar introduced the present results of SoildiverAgro project as well as the upcoming field trials and analyses.

The questionnaire survey conducted with potato producers in the beginning of the year indicated that issues such as rainfall scarcity, low and variable yields, soil compaction, fungal diseases were problematic for producers. The seminar participants agreed that the adverse weather conditions, incl. erratic rainfall during the season, have most impact on the crop. Problems with low soil fertility and fungal diseases in organic production were also raised. Increase of organic matter, optimal fertilization and improvement of plant nutrient availability were seen as possible solutions. Producers emphasized the need to have a holistic approach to soil management as organic matter content, water infiltration, soil fertility, load carrying capacity and soil biota are interconnected. The producers’ feedback suggested adding the topic of soil leaching and liming and soil management optimization to the research project.

The project will continue with two case studies in nemoral region. The first case study focuses on pesticides accumulation rate in the litter layer of no-till cereal fields and on management impact to soil biodiversity with the goal to improve pesticide application and soil biodiversity. Second case study addresses control of phytopathogenic fungi by studying the spread of spores by air in order to improve the pest monitor and control. The discussion of case study provided opportunity to collect information on what are producers’ options on what topics should be studied further in the project.

The project will incorporate the assessment of socioeconomic impacts of management practices, including the analysis of economic costs and social factors on the adoption of soil management practices.

SoildiverAgro is implemented in Estonia in cooperation between Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Institute of Economic and Social Sciences of Estonian University of Life Sciences and non-profit MTÜ Põllukultuuride Klaster.

SoildiverAgro has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 817819

More information: Anne Põder,; SoildiverAgro coordinator in Estonia Merrit Shanskiy,