Conservation Tillage in Lake Urumia Basin

Conservation Tillage in Lake Urumia BasinConservation Tillage in Lake Urumia Basin

The planting of agricultural crops in the autumn crop season by employing sustainable agriculture practices, particularly conservation tillage, has begun in Lake Urumia basin area.

Conservation tillage, disinfection of seeds prior to planting and use of improvised seeds with low water consumption are among techniques which “volunteer farmers will implement in the planting stage” under technical supervision of trained experts, IRNA reported, quoting  Mohammad Sharifi Moghaddam, consultant at the Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project (CIWP) and also instructor for sustainable agriculture.

Conservation tillage is any method of soil cultivation that leaves the previous year’s crop residue (such as corn stalks or wheat stubble) on fields before and after planting the next crop, to reduce soil erosion and runoff. To provide these conservation benefits, at least 30% of the soil surface must be covered with residue after planting the next crop.

It is especially suitable for erosion-prone cropland. In some agricultural regions it has become more common than traditional moldboard plowing.

 Environmental Benefits

The environmental benefits are:

- reduces soil erosion by as much as 60%-90% depending on the conservation tillage method; pieces of crop residue shield soil particles from rain and wind until new plants produce a protective canopy over the soil

- improves soil and water quality by adding organic matter as crop residue decomposes; this creates an open soil structure that lets water in more easily, reducing runoff

- conserves water by reducing evaporation at the soil surface

- conserves energy due to fewer tractor trips across the field

- reduces potential air pollution from dust and diesel emissions

-crop residue provides food and cover for wildlife


The Urumia basin project was designed and launched after extensive programming and research by agricultural jihad experts and with the cooperation of the local farmers. The objective is to sustain the livelihood of the region as well as help conservation of Lake Urumia.

The plan covers 30,000 hectares and more than 13,000 farmers are involved.