Pauline Martin, farmer of 71 years in Source the Saúz (Avila), remembers when the town diversificaba productions, from cereals to forages, passing by legumes to feed their huts and livestock for human food. The aim, above all, was to leave to rest the land. “Now we are abusing it, we’re forcing to produce year after year-based mineral fertilizers and it is going to turn against us”, he says. “The farmers knew better than anyone what land was to rest as fallow or legume, in order to achieve good harvests and, in addition, saving in fertilizers”.


The agricultural land loses bellows 40% of the recipients of farm support for european more than 65 years,

Different forums agree that approximately 40% of the soils are already degraded. In the case of Spain, the World wide Fund for Nature (WWF) estimated that 75% of the territory is susceptible to desertification, and a further 20 per cent already suffer from this problem. Each year, as a result of the erosion caused by the wind and the rain, it loses an average of 30 tons of earth per hectare, according to data collected in the Map of Aridity in Spain the National Action Programme to combat desertification of the Ministry of Agriculture. Studies of the World Organization for Agriculture (FAO) indicate that to increase one centimeter, the thickness of soil can take 1,000 years.

As a result of excessive tillage, of the abuse of monoculture crops or fertilizers, the organic matter is below 2%; there is a risk of mineralization of the soil; excessive compaction of the earth; more salinization, acidification, and, in a word, the exhaustion and fatigue of the same by a few unsustainable practices. All in all it’s an attack against the health of the soil, but, in addition, a risk for the own human food to an expanding population.

in Front of this scenario, a trainer of basketball would ask for a timeout to try to modify the strategy in the use of the land. From the Spanish Association of Conservation Agriculture Living Soils, NAAT-SV, its director, Emilio González, calls for a change in the model of soil management: tillage to minimum or no tillage, do not turn the earth, to leave in the ground the remains of the crop as organic matter, thus slowing erosion and holding water in the soil, a greater rotation of crops, more and more areas of fallow land, increased cultivation of leguminous nitrogen fixers and, in short, to give a break to a land that he is giving as symptoms of fatigue.

To access the support of the current Common Agricultural Policy and, above all, that looming, the European Union provides for more harsh measures such as the obligation to leave a 5% of fallow land when the acreage exceeds 15 hectares; the rotations and diversification of crops from the 10 hectares of progressively, and the obligation of the sowing of crops fixing nitrogen with legumes such as lentils, peas, alholvas, vetches or yeros that, in the case of Spain, in many areas where it was common have virtually disappeared.

Brussels is asking for something that in the past was a voluntary decision by the own farmer, who knew better than anyone the possibilities of each plot. “Now planting year and also the year, in compliance with the community requirements of surface abandonment. We try to take care of the earth because it is our heritage, based on the analysis of soils and using the most modern technologies to give each plot the dosage in volume and the nutrient that is needed”, says Edu Ausin, one of the few young people in Mazuela, Burgos. Raul Torrego, of Aldehorno, Segovia, remember the sementeras when emptied from trash corrals and tenadas to fertilize their fields. Today almost does not remain, these wastes and used the manure from the pig farms with the obligation of infiltrarlos in the earth; fertilizers positive, but dangerous because of the risk of harm to the earth and contaminate aquifers.

The NAAT-SV works in a variety of projects such as the Life Agromitiga or Mosoex (Increase of organic matter, and the sustainable management of extensive systems), funded by the Ministry of Agriculture. This last aims to promote and disseminate an innovative model of management of soils to increase the carbon content, fight against erosion and degradation, reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases and, in short, to give new life to a land that is drained by improving your fertility.