The Programme Tillage System with Quality has been a strategy of action, which originated in the mid to late 1990, when Itaipu Binacional, motivated by the permanent concern for the silting of its reservoir, initiated contacts with the Agronomic Institute of Paraná (IAPAR), to develop a diagnostic and studies capable of solving the problem. At that time, the system of "direct tillage on the straw" was already known throughout the State of Paraná, being highly effective in combating erosion, among many other benefits, however, there were still difficulties for good the development of the SDP in the region adjacent to the reservoir. 

Through the validation of technological innovations, training and dissemination of direct tillage in diversified systems, the direct tillage system implemented properly in the region allowed the reduction of up to 10 times the amount of fertile soil that was taken by the erosive process to water courses.

 

A - General Informations

 

START: February 1997 (in progress)

EXECUTING ENTITY: Agronomic Institute of Paraná-IAPAR and Itaipu Binacional

PARTNERS: municipal administrations of the Municipalities Association of West of Paraná - AMOP, Brazilian Federation of Tillage and Irrigation (FEBRAPDP), EMATER/PR, cooperatives Lar and Copagril and Farmers Employees

PRESENTED BY: Graziela Moraes de Cesare Barbosa e Rafael Fuentes Llanillo

RESOURCES: Own

VALUE RANGE: Above US$25 mil

CATEGORY: Reference unit

MAIN THEMATIC AREAAgriculture

KEYWORDS: Sustainable agriculture, conservation agriculture, sowing quality, permanent soil cover, siltation, erosion, EMATER, IAPAR and ITAIPU.

TARGET: Farmers in grain production in the region and public and private technical assistance

LOCATION: Rural area

GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE: Microrregional

SPECIFIC DEPLOYMENT AREA: The practice was initially deployed in 15 municipalities bordering the ITAIPU Lake inserted in Paraná basin III. Developed in 29 "validation units" in thirteen selected properties (collaborators).

 

B - Description of the practice

 

1 -BACKGROUND

In the 90s, motivated by the permanent concern for the silting of its reservoir, Itaipu Binacional initiated contacts with the Agronomic Institute of Paraná (IAPAR), to develop a diagnostic and studies capable of solving the problem. The Lake protection strip was insufficient to ensure the quality of the water, this resource being strategic for the generation of energy.

At that time, the direct tillage system in straw, was already known in the whole State and was highly effective in combating erosion, among many other benefits. The system had been deployed in the region, but there were difficulties to ensure the success of the entire reservoir protection system, since many producers use only terracing technique, without combining other practices, including the direct tillage system. Approximately 85% of the properties adopted the direct tillage, but with needs of actions directed to improving the quality of technology, through appropriate machinery, crop rotation and appropriate seeds, and therefore environmental sustainability.

Then IAPAR and FEBRAPDP (Brazilian Federation of direct tillage in straw) were contacted to make a diagnosis of the situation. The study was conducted during the year of 1997 and found several difficulties for the proper development of the SDP in the region. For example, the soil too compacted due to the excessive use of grid and plow, lack of crop rotation, the absence of green coverage during the off season, lack of appropriate machinery and coverage seeds and rapid decomposition of straw, which occurred due to the heat and humidity.

There was also a low degree of diversification and little use of cover plants for soil protection in agricultural production systems based on soy-corn rotation crops. The predominance of clay soil and mechanized operations favored surface compression and accelerated decomposition of organic matter.

With this data in hand, a set of integrated actions was put together that were organized the so-called "quality direct tillage system program".

  

 2 - GENERAL OBJECTIVE

Identify and develop solutions to reduce the silting up of the Itaipu Reservoir, focused on the practice changing of agriculture producers in the regions bordering the lake.

Specific objectives:

  • Identify conservation production management techniques appropriate for agriculture developed in the Western region of Paraná;
  • Develop appropriate machinery to the system of direct tillage and conservation management; and
  • Encourage the adoption of direct tillage system in straw in an appropriate way in the regional context.

 

3 - ADOPTED SOLUTION

In a joint work between IAPAR, Itaipu Binacional and FEBRAPDP an action strategy called "direct tillage with quality" was developed. This strategy was basedon the participatory research approach, which was already underway in the framework of sub-basin articulated by Itaipu. With the participation of local agents of ATER, representatives of municipal administrations, cooperatives and farmers who already acted as protagonists in the elaboration of the diagnoses of the problems and the action plans.

Within the technical issues raised with 1,273 producers and 181 technicians of the ATER , with respect to the direct tillage system, the methodological strategy adopted included the following lines:

•Validation of technological innovations in the reference properties (validation technical units). Have been validated different crop rotation schemes in eight municipalities, totaling 42 macroparcels, being 29 Technology Validation Test Units, with 13 farmers collaborators. Subsequently, these actions were extended to 15 municipalities bordering Itaipu. Crop rotations validated included soybeans, corn, wheat, beans, forage turnips, oats and white oatmeal, hairy vetch, field pea and moha. In the units were made adjustments and proof of productive models of production systems through direct planting;

•Training of farmers and local professionals of ATER, to act as multipliers of the technological development of direct tillage;

•Training of more than 5.000 people, who were directly involved in some project action (field days, lectures, courses, meetings, congress , technical bulletins, dynamic distribution of machines), to act as multipliers of the technological development of the direct tillage system; and

•Development of adapted rods in seeders, to improve the quality of the seeding process and reduce fuel consumption by up to 50%.

 

4 - RESULTS ACHIEVED

In the field units, it was identified that the management of technologies developed by farmers, allowed their adaptation to local realities, allowing other farmers also to adopt validated techniques.

The adoption of direct tillage in a proper manner in the region adjacent to the reservoir, made possible the reduction of up to 10 times the amount of fertile soil that was removed by the erosive process to watercourses. An example of this reduction was the review of the calculation of the life of the reservoir of the Itaipu power plant, which went from 70 to 169 years, due to the adoption of direct tillage.

The adoption of direct tillage with quality enabled the increase in soil biodiversity, increased crop productivity and, consequently, improving the environment, and the profitability of the system by up to 20%.

There was also:

  • installation of 29 test and validation units of cultures in thirteen selected properties (farmer collaborators);
  • training of 30 multipliers belonging to cooperatives, municipalities, EMATER and private companies;
  • Technological diffusion along the more than 5,000 farmers;
  • Dozens of lectures, courses, field days, meetings, congresses, distributed technical bulletins, mechanical workshops for adaptation of rods, presentations of the results of the project were held. This work resulted in the publication of the book "Direct Tillage System with Quality", edited by ITAIPU/IAPAR;
  • After five years of study, about 13 different types of machines had been adapted by the manufacture companies specially for agriculture of Western Paraná, and developed a sequence of cultures to each region adjacent to the lake; and
  • Many farmers, after five years of direct tillage were no longer using chemical fertilizers on crops.

 

 5 - RESOURCES NEEDED

The deployment can be made by the producer and his team, who must obtain the necessary information through training – field days, courses, and lectures. It is also advisable to have an appropriate technical assistance. In the short term, it may be necessary to deploy a green manure/cover crop. In the long run, the producer must invest in proper machinery and equipment, and for that the values can vary, depending on the size of the property and crops grown.

The speed in getting results was due to the existence of research results and the involvement of a multidisciplinary team of IAPAR, farmers and development agents of Itaipu.

Ten researchers and six agricultural technicians of IAPAR, with dedication of 10% of their time, eight Itaipu technicians with dedication of 10% of their time, and the thirteen families of producers with their work, machines and supplies, made possible advances in technical information.

To replicate the experience in other regions, it is necessary the local adaptation of technologies with a multidisciplinary team, supported by the ATER.

 

6 - TRANSFER

After checking the results in 29 test and validation Units, all municipalities in the region adjacent to the Itaipu Reservoir, began to adopt the practice of direct tillage with quality. In other words, making the crop rotation, keeping the soil covered and removing the minimum amount of soil. This practice, combined with other initiatives of Itaipu Binacional since the beginning of its construction, such as the integrated management of watersheds, terracing, adequacy and maintenance of rural roads, guarantee, today, a suitable quality of the waters of the reservoir.

Developed practices are adopted by 10% of the grain producers of Paraná, at about 500,000 ha in the State and other 1,500,000 ha in southern Brazil.

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

he biggest lesson is the importance of the direct tillage system, and the need to be accompanied by research methodology, since there are many factors that can compromise the quality. Examples arise from lack of adequate facilities, climate change, weather, soil that require different care.

The biggest barriers identified are maybe the lack of information and access, of producers, quality seeds and compatible prices. This can be considered a good practice because it involved research, producers and one of the largest hydroelectric plants in the world in search of solutions to a problem that could compromise the energy generation. In pursuit of this solution, it was installed in the Western region of Paraná, an environmentally correct agricultural practice and sustainable acknowledged.

One of the bottlenecks identified in the adoption of direct tillage practice with quality lies in the conditions of the commodity market in recent years that focus on the culture of soybean. Because of this, many times there is a lack of motivation for the producer to promote crop rotation in his property, which severely hampers the initiative addressed by this good practice.

 

There is the possibility to visit throughout the year, but the months of April and October are the months that allow a better view of the processes of soil cover.

No. of visitors: 20 visitors on average, may reach a maximum of 40 visitors.

 

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