Main authors: Ana Iglesias, David Santillán, Luis Garrote and contributions from ISS (China)
iSQAPERiS editor: Jane Brandt
Source document: Iglesias, A. et al. (2018) Report on definition of typical combinations of farming systems and agricultural practices in Europe and China and their effects on soil quality. iSQAPER Project Deliverable 7.1, 87 pp


Here we present a geographical analysis of the farming systems, agricultural management practices and soil quality indicators based on the data sources detailed in »Geospatial, farming systems and agricultural management practices data. The analysis is 0.5 degree grid or Nuts 2, as described for each dataset.

Contents table
1. Farming systems
2. Agricultural management practices
3. Spatial analysis of soil quality indicators

1. Farming systems

Figures 3 to 9 represent the spatial extent of the farming systems selected for upscaling, cereal, rice, maize, soybean, vegetables, pasture and permanent crops.

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Figure 3 Cereal
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Figure 4. Rice
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Figure 5. Maize

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Figure 6. Soybean
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Figure 7. Vegetables
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Figure 8. Pasture

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Figure 9. Permanent crops

2. Agricultural management practices

In this section we provide the spatial analysis of the information regarding management practices in Europe and China, as described below.

Soil management

In Figure 10 it can be seen that most of the regions in Europe are barely implementing residue management with percentages lower than 20% out of total arable land. There is no region with percentages higher than 60%.

Tillage practices in Europe were derived from the Survey on Agricultural Production Methods, which was held in 2010. The implementation level is expressed as the percentage of land under a certain management practice, compared to the total area of arable land. Most of soil management practices data for Germany regions are missing. We derived the use for the following measures at NUTS2 level.

As mentioned before, conventional tillage is found to be the most common practice for all the regions. Many of the regions represented in Figure 11 shows that they are implementing more than 60% of conventional tillage out of total arable land.

Unlike conventional tillage, the soil management practice of reduced tillage is not extensively undertaken. Only Cyprus, Halle region in Germany and Severoiztochen region in Bulgaria are implementing approximately 60-80% of reduced tillage and no region is implementing more than 80% of reduced tillage out of total arable land (Figure 12).

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Figure 10
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Figure 11
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Figure 12

Crop management

Normal winter crop cover is more extensively undertaken between ranges of 40-60% out of total arable land. A few regions from United Kingdom, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Greece, Italy and Spain are implementing between ranges of 60-80% out of total arable land. Only Cyprus is implementing more than 80% of normal winter crop cover (Figure 13). Sweden, Denmark, Wales region in United Kingdom and Vorarlberg region in Austria show the highest percentage of crop rotation (more than 80% out of total arable land) comparing to the rest of regions in Figure 14. Figure 15 represents bare soil in Europe.

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Figure 13
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Figure 14
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Figure 15

Nutrient management

Nutrient management provides information about the level of inputs used in the agricultural systems. This information is useful as proxi for other soil pollution variables not available in spatial datasets, such as the use of other agrochemicals (e.g., pesticides) and plastics in the soil. The data presented in nutrient management needs to be re-analysed for anomalies in some regions. This is done in »Effect of management on soil quality.

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Figure 16 Cereal - K application
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Figure 17 Cereal N application
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Figure 18 Cereal P application

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Figure 19. Rice K application
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Figure 20. Rice N application
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Figure 21. Rice P application

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Figure 22. Maize K application
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Figure 23. Maize N application
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Figure 24. Maize P application

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Figure 25. Soybean K application
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Figure 26. Soybean N application
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Figure 27. Soybean P application

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Figure 28. Potato K application
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Figure 29. Potato N application
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Figure 30. Potato P application

Water management

The total irrigated area (in 1000 ha) was derived from the SAPM 2010 survey from Eurostat (ef_poirrig). The area that was irrigated at least once per year was used. It is also possible to use the potential area that can be irrigated or subdivide the area to the main crop (groups). Also the total volume of water used for irrigation is available. Figure 31 shows how Mediterranean regions are the most irrigated areas as well as Denmark. Data for Ireland is missing.

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Figure 31. Total irrigated area
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Figure 32. Percentage irrigated area

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Figure 33. Area equipped for irrigation
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Figure 34. Percentage area equipped for irrigation

Organic agriculture

The area of organic farming is expressed as percentage of the utilized agricultural area (UAA). These data are based on the 2010 FSS statistics at regional level from Eurostat (ef_mporganic) and exclude the farms in conversion to organic farming. The Eurostat data also offer the possibility to detail the area of organic farming by main crops. Most of regions show very low percentages of organic farming around 0-5% out of UAA. Only Salzburg region in Austria and Severozapad region in Czech Republic show the highest percentages between ranges 20-30% out of UAA (Figure 35).

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Figure 35

3. Spatial analysis of soil quality indicators

The soil quality indicators presented below are those linked to the ecosystem services in »Approach taken to evaluate the soil environmental footprint.

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Figure 36. Cereal yield
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Figure 37. Rice yield
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Figure 38. Maize yield

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Figure 39. Soybean yield
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Figure 40. Vegetables yield
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Figure 41. Pasture yield

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Figure 42. Permanent crops yield
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Figure 43. Soil organic carbon
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Figure 44. Water holding capacity


Note: For full references to papers quoted in this article see

» References

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