Crop and Cropping Systems Management Practices and Benefits in Conservation Agriculture Systems
Conservation Agriculture (CA) offers a pragmatic option for improving soil health, crop productivity and resilience, generating biomass, increasing factor productivity and total output, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Most crops, including cereal, legume, oilseed, fibre and vegetable crops, can be successfully grown under CA systems, as can a range of forages. CA can produce yields that are comparable to, or higher than, conventional systems on a range of soil types and under variable climatic conditions. The use of diverse cropping/farming systems in CA can increase resilience to both biotic and abiotic stresses; enhance yield and economic stability, and reduce and/or slow declines in long-term soil productivity. In this chapter, the authors summarize the performance of various crops in CA systems across the globe and elaborate on the management practices and benefits of including those crops in CA systems. They also highlight various cropping systems that might be suitable for long-term sustainability of CA systems. Case studies are also included.