Agriculture biologique et qualité des eaux dans des aires d’alimentation de captage : diversité des postures techniques d’agriculteurs conventionnels et biologiques et pressions nitrate et pesticide induites

Abstract : Many problems with nitrate and pesticide contamination from agriculture exist in European drinking water catchments. In France, a new mitigation approach aims at preventing water quality degradation in explicitly targeting agricultural non-point source pollutions associated with leaching of nitrates and pesticides. This work aims at assessing the opportunity to develop organic farming in water catchment areas in order to reduce nitrate and pesticide leaching from root zone. The objective was to analyze both i) feasibility of conversions to organic farming on farms concerned by water preservation and ii) the potential impacts of these conversions in terms of nitrate and pesticide leaching reduction.To explore the potential contribution of organic farming in water catchment areas, we develop an innovative typology approach to characterize farmers’ conceptions and strategies related to cropping systems’ organization on the farm territory. Our method was tested in two French water catchment areas characterized by diversified production systems, where semi-structured interviews were carried out with conventional and organic farmers. Resulting typologies of farmers were used to assess leaching risks variability related with current cropping systems and to identify potential similarities between conventional and organic farmers’ conceptions. Nitrate and pesticide leaching risks for cropping systems were assessed and spatialized by using four agro-environmental indicators. Our results show major variations for all indicators at both study sites, for example N-surpluses which range from -105 to 192 kg N ha-1 year-1. These variations are deeply related with diversity of farmers’ conceptions summarized in typologies. To assess proximity of conventional farmers to organic farming, we used typologies to compare conceptions related to organization of cropping systems between conventional and organic farmers. By analyzing specificities of organic farmers’ conceptions, we determined three main criteria of proximity to organic farming; these criteria were then used to identify various degrees of proximity to organic farming among conventional farmers in the catchment areas.To assess potential contribution of organic farming to water preservation in catchment areas, we firstly compared nitrate leaching risks between conventional and organic cropping systems. Our results reveal low leaching risks from organic systems, characterized by reduced N-surpluses and lower bare soils frequencies in autumn. According to these results, massive development of organic farming should decrease nitrate leaching in our two water catchment areas. However, analysis of similarities between conventional and organic farmers’ conceptions shows that a majority of farmers are characterized by a low level of proximity to organic farming. Moreover, the farmers who show strongest similarities with organic farmers’ conceptions are already those with low leaching risks cropping systems. To significantly lower nitrate leaching risks, conversions should concern conventional farmers with low degree of proximity to organic farming.
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Jean-Baptiste Gratecap. Agriculture biologique et qualité des eaux dans des aires d’alimentation de captage : diversité des postures techniques d’agriculteurs conventionnels et biologiques et pressions nitrate et pesticide induites. Agronomie. AgroParisTech, 2014. Français. ⟨NNT : 2014AGPT0059⟩. ⟨tel-02149873⟩

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