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Ciência Rural

Print version ISSN 0103-8478On-line version ISSN 1678-4596


VERNETTI JUNIOR, Francisco de Jesus; GOMES, Algenor da Silva  and  SCHUCH, Luis Osmar Braga. Crop rotations sustainability and successions systems in tilled plain areas in Southern Brazil. Cienc. Rural [online]. 2009, vol.39, n.6, pp.1708-1714.  Epub June 05, 2009. ISSN 0103-8478.

The quantitative analysis with different types of indicators is crucial in determining the sustainability of crop succession. This study aimed to appraise that in tilled plain areas. The research was carried out in Pelotas, RS, Brazil at Embrapa Clima Temperado research area. The treatments consisted of successions of winter and spring-summer crops species for five years, followed by two years of fallow and three years of rice cropping. The spring-summer crops were corn and soybean, besides rice; the winter crops were cereals, leguminous pastures, mixtures species, turnip and native grass species. Seeding was performed either by no-till (NT) or conventional (CT). The experiment was planned in a split-plot randomized blocks design with three replications, where the summer crops occupied the plots, while the winter's species were allocated to the subplots. The parameters measured were transformed into index to standardize the variables, each one in relation to the better measurement behavior, and arranged in four categories of analysis: (a) Agronomics indices (dry weight and grain yield); (b) Environmental indicators (soil fertility); (c) Energy Indicators (gain and energy efficiency); d) Economic Indicators (profitability and gross value of production). Through harmonic average rates calculated for each indicator, comparisons to the crop succession were then performed, and its sustainability inferred. Analyses of contrasts between the crop successions were accomplished too. The results provided the following conclusions: (a) All crop succession which had maize participation had a higher index sustainability; (b) the crops successions S1 [Cereals x soybean x rice(NT)] and S4 [Turnip x soybean x rice(NT)] had, respectively, the highest and the lowest sustainability among the ones with the soybean crop participation; (c) S5 [Native grass x soybean x rice(CT)] showed the lowest sustainability level, (d) S8 [Species mixtures x corn x rice(NT)] presented the best distribution and balance between the different classes of sustainability considered; (e) S10 [Native grass x corn x rice(CT)] has the worst performance, regarding the sustainability of the one's which included maize; (f) the NT system gives greater sustainability to the crop succession.

Keywords : rice; soybean; maize; winter crops (cereals, leguminous pastures, turnip); environment quality; sustainable indicators; crop rotation.

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