Farmers’ assessment of soil quality in rice production systems

A.C.R. Lima, W.B. Hoogmoed, L. Brussaard, F. Sacco dos Anjos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


In the recent past there has been increasing recognition that local knowledge of farmers can yield insight into soil quality. With regard to constraints and possibilities for the production of irrigated rice in the south of Brazil there is no documentation on local soil knowledge. The goals of this study were to answer the following questions: (1) Which soil quality perceptions do rice farmers have? (2) Which soil quality indicators are most important to them? (3) Do rice farmers use their knowledge about soil quality indicators when making soil management decisions and developing sustainable management? The study was carried out in the municipality of Camaquã-Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The research methods used included semi-structured interviews alternated with group discussions. Farmers named eleven characteristics as good indicators for soil quality: earthworms, soil colour, yield, spontaneous vegetation, soil organic matter, root development, soil friability, rice plant development, colour of the rice plant, number of rice tillers and cattle health. Out of these, three indicators were found to be useful in farmers’ decision-making: spontaneous vegetation, rice plant development and soil colour. The potential use of local knowledge for maintaining soil quality and developing sustainable land management is discussed
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
JournalNJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • sustainable land management
  • irrigated rice
  • local knowledge
  • indigenous knowledge
  • tillage systems
  • fertility
  • water
  • indicators
  • health
  • issues

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