Twenty-eight stakeholders, mostly farmers, researchers and NGO’s attended the alley cropping field trip which was held on the 15th of June 2018 in Pusula in southern Finland at the Kilpiän tila farm.
Kilpiän tila, a 75-hectare organic farm, managed by Tuomas and Iiris Mattila, adapted very well to an exceptionally dry start of the Finnish summer. Their farming methods succeeded in reducing the damages of this years’ early-summer drought, while at the same time these methods would also be beneficial for improving the water quality in the Baltic Sea.
As a large part of the farm area is situated on a steep slope, Tuomas and Iiris try to reduce the erosion sensitivity so that soil and nutrients are not transported with wind or water away from the fields. They have planted contour lines with trees taking into account the inclination of the fields. They have planted a wind-break with willow and alder, and an alley cropping system with fruit trees (apple, pear, cherry, plum, sea buckthorn) on erosion-prone slopes. This erosion prevention measure has also helped in the fight against the exceptional drought in the early summer. Tuomas Mattila explains that the prevention of drought damage is particularly influenced by three factors: Diverse crop rotation, continuous plant cover and use of cover crops, and minimum soil tillage.
In addition to the water and erosion protection measures, the farm invests in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The forests of the farm are sustainably managed using a continuous cover forest management approach.
Tuomas and Iiris based their farming methods mainly on scientific knowledge. Thanks to the success, the farmers are now planning additional tree plantings and they are constantly trying to improve their methods. The participants enjoyed the field trip and were happy to see these examples of best practice techniques and successful agroforestry in Finland.
Thanks to their innovative farming practices aiming at reducing run-off and improving water quality, Kilpian tila won the WWF 2018 Most Environmental Friendly Farm around the Baltic Sea Award: https://www.maaseuduntulevaisuus.fi/maatalous/artikkeli-1.255081 and https://wwf.fi/wwf-suomi/viestinta/uutiset-ja-tiedotteet/WWF-palkitsi-vuoden-ymparistoystavallisimman-maatilan---kuivuus-on-kurittanut-myos-voittajatilaa--mutta-kolme-konstia-pitavat-tuhot-pienina-3517.a
Warm congratulations and thank you that we could be your guests!
More info: Michael, Innovation Broker of the Finnish RAIN or https://www.facebook.com/AFINETSUOMI/
|Tuomas and Iiris Mattila explaining how to design a wind break on a steep slope|
Field demonstration where to plant trees for a new contour line
The stakeholders were inspired by the farming methods at Kilpiän farm