A challenge to improve eco-sustainable fertility

Over the past few decades, agriculture has seen a continuous development of income plants, neglecting the balance of the soil system and depleting the land of micro and macro elements, essential for fertility and for the maintenance of biodiversity. We are witnessing an exponential growth of monocultures which, in order to achieve profitable productions, require the use of high doses of chemical or organic mineral fertilizers. To date we have had the opportunity to use multiple seeders with variable rate system, with which a single species or a mix of herbaceous crops is distributed based on the vineyard vigor maps. Our goal is to contribute to the realization of a solution that is able to distribute different types of herbaceous plants in the different areas of a vineyard. Then we proceed to sow within each single row of legumes in low fertility areas and grasses in medium / high fertility areas. With this system we aim at greater uniformity of production and a qualitative balance of both the product and the soil system. But how to combine the company’s business needs with greater sustainability? Within the SPARKLE project, Marchesi Mazzei launched a “Challenge” to the students who attended the course, stimulating them to find not only a technological solution capable of increasing the level of micro elements available in the soil and making a homogeneous production in compliance of the environment but to see how this technology is reflected on the company business model and on the organization. The students had a month to finalize the proposal and the winning team for Italy will be defined by mid-October 2020. We believe that the possible solutions to this “challenge” can represent an excellent step forward for the entire constraint sector.