Haida Indian proverb
Soil is an unrecoverable natural resource, since it can take centuries for fertile soil to form. The innovation cluster established under Estonian Rural Development Plan’s (ERDP) cooperation measure will seek to solve problems of low soil fertility levels, impact of plant protection product residues and nutrient leaching in arable soil – common issues of many agricultural producers and livestock farmers today.
We are a farmer’s union. The members of Soil Innovation Cluster include Estonian farmers – conventional and organic producers, beekeepers and livestock farmers interested in collaborating with researchers, applying innovative agricultural practices, as well as sharing their experiences with others.
The cluster’s main research topics include precision agriculture, cover and catch crop cultivation techniques, development of organic fertilisers and research studies on soil health and biodiversity to explore new practices and and innovative products with the emphasis on making agricultural production more sustainable.
Precision agriculture shall test the implementation of remote sensing solutions for environmentally friendly agricultural production. The purpose of the activities related to the exploration of catch crops is to find appropriate mixtures suitable for cultivation after the main crop for better soil health and land regeneration. In addition, our projects aim to develop organic fertilisers that are efficient and adopt the principle of circular economy. Research and development will reflect the results of the evaluation of soil health indicators (physical and chemical composition of soil, its water capacity, biodiversity, etc.) and thereby promoting the implementation of best agrotechnical practices in livestock and crop production that restore the quality of arable soils.
Furthermore, we are active at an international level. Project activities of SoilDiver Agro – subsidised by EU’s programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020 – will focus on increasing soil biodiversity in European agro-ecosystems. The aim of SoilDiverAgro is to provide and develop new practices and techniques to improve crop quality and productivity, whilst reducing external inputs.