Definition of a conversion plan of organic planting

 Definition of a conversion plan
All the information gathered will, after due consideration, help the farmer to define a conversion plan that will include the technical solutions that he deems best for his holding, namely:
1. Fertilization, evenly balanced, organic, based on balance of humus.
2. Rotation, satisfying:
a) agronomic requirements - soil fertility and health;
• soil erosion protection;
• weed control;
• pest and disease control;
b) economic requirements
• market appreciation;
• premiums and incentives.
3. Intercropping, to exploit the plants synergic action in relation to nutrients, pest and disease control, quality and environment.

. Selection of varieties, to adapt to the agricultural ecosystem and obtain nutritional, organoleptic and technical qualities in the final product.
5. Introduction of hedgerows and trees, to favour biodiversity, farm ecosystem balance and
A conversion plan is also useful to highlight the fact that in organic farming no action is an
end in itself. The actions will be effective only if the equilibrium of soil and ecosystem is
respected. Conversion times and modes for an agricultural crop production are in fact correlated with a rotation plan, because to a rotation plan are connected balance of humus and
fertilization, selection of varieties and seed treatments, weed control, soil tillage, soil cover
and intervention times. All these operations have in their turn various technical implications
that are interlinked with the fertility of the soil.
During the plan implementation stage, all actions carried out (or derogations) and the consequent results must be accurately recorded. Only through careful examination of soil response it will be possible to check whether conversion is being complied with and the choice
made was a good one, or some improvements and amendments are necessary in order to
attain objectives.
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• Oljača S. (2005). Agroekološke osnove organske poljoprivrede. U monografiji Organska
poljoprivredna proizvodnja, (Kovačević D., Oljača S.) Poljoprivredni fakultet, Zemun,1-33.
• Kovačević D., & Oljača S. (2005). Organska poljoprivredna proizvodnja, monografija,
Poljoprivredni fakultet, Zemun, 323pp.
• Oljača S. (2012). Organska poljoprivredna proizvodnja. Zadužbina Andrejević, Beograd.

3.1. The characteristics of soil and soil organic matter
Organic agriculture uses a variety of methods for soil cultivation to conserve and improve
soil structure, soil fertility and increase organic matter content. There are many methods and
principles, but it is essential to recognize importance of the long term soil fertility. Applied
practices should increase organic matter and humus, protect from erosion, decline loss of
nutrients and maintain healthy and diversified soil life. Well planned crop rotation satisfies
all these conditions.
Soil organic matter is broken up into three different categories: “living”, “dead”, and the “very
dead”. Living component encompasses all functional group of organisms in soil: plants, animals and microorganisms. Dead component makes plant residues, decomposing roots, dead
organisms and metabolites of soil microorganisms, while the very dead component is what
we call soil humus, result of decomposing. Organic producers should thrive to increase content of all three soil organic matter components. Soil tillage in organic production increases
organic matter content and biological soil activity. 

This is achieved by crop rotation, composting, use of green manure and cover crops. Introduction of the four-year and the five-year
crop rotation plan with grasses and legumes on meadows and pastures, fallow land, is a
great way to increase and maintain organic matter. Also, soils with high percentage of organic matter do not always have high fertility rate. Peat bog soils for example, are completely
made out of organic matter but are poor with nutrients. Also, soils rich in organic matter
do not always have the most desirable biological activity. Over moisture in these soils creates anaerobic environment unsuitable for decomposition of organic matter, and organisms
provoking plant disease here multiply. Soils need to be properly tilled for organic matter to
lead to the increase of nutrients available for plants, improved soil structure and increase of
nutrients’ reserve.
Amount of soil organic matter depends on soil type and type of tillage. Sandy soils in their
essential form can have 1% of the organic matter, while humus soils even up to 30% of the
organic matter. Usually the content of organic matter is between 3 - 6%.
3.2. Soil management, cultivation and analysis
In organic soil management are used methods that are minimizing soil erosion, increasing
organic matter and intensifying diverse life in soil. Synthetic fertilizers are not used in organic
production, so organic producers increase soil fertility specifically through:
• careful planning of crop rotation,
• increasing microbial diversity of soil with organic fertilizers,
• reducing practices on soil which are harmful for soil biogenity,
• avoiding tillage on erosion prone slopes,
• sequence sowing (sowing legumes and other crops one after the other),
• avoiding overgrazing,
• no synthetic soluble fertilizers and pesticides, both can be harmful for soil microorganisms, and when used too long, contribute to soil degradation.
In organic agriculture, activity of micro and macroflora and fauna is very important, especially of the earthworms. Setting up a suitable habitat is the first step to improve biological
characteristic of the soil, which long-term results in increase of soil quality and productivity.
This means that reduced tillage systems should be used as they less deteriorate soils and
secure longer period of its rest (setting up a wider crop rotation, intercropping, using quality
composted fertilizers). 

Tendency is to minimize soils’ turning and mixing during ploughing.
Harvest residues should be integrated in the soil at 8 cm depth, where living soil organisms
can decompose it. Part of these residues remains on the surface to diminish soil erosion.
Conservation tillage: (Reduced tillage, Mulch tillage, Partial width tillage, No tillage), crop
residues as mulch remain on the top or in the surface layer to protect from soil erosion,
deflation and strong evapotranspiration, thus depleting soil degradation. Improved physical
characteristics of the soil and the constant increase in organic matter in conservation tillage
increases biological diversity of soil.
Conservation tillage systems:
Reduced tillage, is every type of cultivation without inverting soil and when 30% of its
surface is covered with crop residue (Figure 1).
Mulch tillage, is tillage system in which residue is partially incorporated using chisels,
sweeps, field cultivators, providing fine tilth and soil cutting, with 30% of plant residues
on surface (Figure 2).
Partial width tillage, immediately prior sowing narrow strips foreseen for sowing are
tilled, up to 1/3 of total surface(Strip tillage, Figure 3).
No tillage (Figure 4), direct seeding machine (no-till planter) removes crop residues and
provide a layer of fine tilth in the planting rows up to 5 cm.

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