The agricultural sector is one of the main contributors to climate change, due to significant greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, it is one of the most exposed sectors to extreme climate events, such as rising temperatures, prolonged droughts, violent rainfall.
This vicious circle can be broken, since agriculture itself plays a key role in fighting climate change. As a matter of fact, through the implementation of specific agricultural practices, known as carbon farming, it is possible to foster the absorption and storage of CO2 in the atmosphere. Agricultural soil and its care therefore play an essential role in this perspective, promoting the health not only of the planet, but also of crops.
The presence of Soil Organic Matter (SOM), the main indicator of good soil health, is a crucial resource, consisting in an important nutrient sink. Increased SOM in the soil is also important for CO2 reduction, thanks to its ability to absorb and fix atmospheric carbon in soils, contributing to climate change mitigation.
Finally, the presence of high levels of organic matter in soils is important in fostering a better soil structure, which leads to increased water penetration and nutrient uptake, limiting resource’s waste and increasing overall soil stability.
Project’s objectives and MOSOM tool features
EIT Food’s MOSOM project aims to develop an accurate, efficient and cost-effective tool for remote monitoring and estimation of organic matter content in agricultural soils. The goal is to support farmers in visualising and increasing the amount of organic matter in their fields, improving soil quality, nutrients present and thus crop health and resilience.
The partnership, which is composed by Agricolus together with the Latvian company Art21, the University of Bologna, the University of Aarhus, the CNR, StMELF and the Spanish cooperative Grupo AN, aims to bring the innovative technologies developed straight to commercialisation; a goal which is particularly facilized by the presence of research organisations, institutional bodies and market players.
The MOSOM tool shows, for each individual field within the Agricolus platform, the relative values and variability of soil’s Organic Matter content. In addition, thanks to the integration with the new DSS, it will be possible to access two further features:
- monitor the time variation in the stock of organic carbon, which allows the user to understand how the organic matter content in the soils of individual fields varies and obtain a series of recommendations and practical suggestions for increasing it.
- create a prescription map for variable rate fertilisation from the organic matter content map.
In this way, farmers will have access to clear information on the state of soil health in their fields and receive easy-to-understand instructions on how to improve it, actively participating in the fight against climate change by absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere while improving quality and resilience of crops.