In the arable hilly lands of Central Italy, cropping systems are dominated by cereals, with a series of problems due to the high use of chemical inputs, the strong reduction of biodiversity, soil fertility and quality. In addition, the recent trends of the market of grain cereals, characterized by low price levels, caused many farmers to give up, for economic reasons, crop production in these areas. Furthermore, crop diversification measures included in the greening payments of the new EU CAP (2014-2020), require farmers to find new crops to include in crop rotations.The introduction of alternative (rare, underutilized, disregarded, neglected) crops into these cropping systems can increase plant biodiversity, farming income and the system sustainability.Among these, safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.), a versatile oilseed crop, may offers a number of benefits to cereal-based cropping systems, due to its noticeable agronomic characteristics in terms of weed competition, resistance to cold, drought, salinity and bird predation, with a reduced use of chemicals and water. Consequently, the aim of this study was to evaluate the adaptability of safflower in the hilly lands of central Italy, traditionally devoted to cereal cultivation, testing this species both in conventional and organic farming systems. Results showed that safflower could represent a good opportunity for organic farming systems of hilly areas of central Italy, thanks to its characteristic of rusticity and seed and oil production levels. Thanks to its deep rooting system and high rusticity, safflower crop grown organically, was able to use more efficiently the soil natural resources, showing, at the same time, a great competitiveness against weeds.The farming system did not affect fatty acid composition of safflower oil, suggesting that the qualitative traits are under genetic control, rather than influenced by agronomic management.
|Titolo:||Carthamus tinctorius L.: New Opportunity for Organic Cropping Systems of Hilly Lands of Central Italy|
|Anno del prodotto:||2016|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||4.1 Contributo in Atti di convegno|