Currently, the most common scenario for Brazilian sugarcane expansion is the conversion of pastures to sugarcane crops, where significant losses or gains of carbon in the soil can occur due to the specific management adopted in sugarcane. In this context, this research project aims to assess the impact of pasture conversion on sugarcane crops as a function of cover crops and conservationist soil tillage systems under physical, chemical attributes and soil carbon stocks. In addition, we intend to estimate the soil carbon stock using data mining techniques, such as attribute selection and the Random Forest algorithm. The study will be carried out in an experimental area already implanted in the municipality of Ibitinga, São Paulo, Brazil. The experiment was conducted through a design of continuous ranges, in a split-plot scheme with three replicates, in which four cover crops were arranged in the horizontal ranges (peanuts, millet, sunn hemp and sorghum) and three tillage systems in the vertical ranges (no-tillage, minimum tillage and minimum tillage with deep subsoiling), for comparison purposes, a control treatment was also implemented, without cover crops and with conventional tillage. The assessment period this project will correspond to the third and fourth cycle of sugarcane production (2018/2019 and 2019/2020 harvest). At the end of the project, it is expected to better understand the impact of the conversion of pastures areas on sugarcane crops to diverse soil attributes, with special emphasis on soil carbon, aiming to reverse the soil degradation process by means of techniques of expansion of sustainable sugarcane crops associated to the maintenance of the productivity of the sugar and alcohol sector.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: