Objective - to quantify the effect on productivity and environmental impacts of different organic and conventional cropping systems across a range of soil and climatic conditions.
- to identify management measures that can contribute significantly to a sustainable development of the individual cropping systems.
Preliminary results The grain yields of organic grown spring barley with catch crops and manure was equally high as for conventional production. However, yields in organic grown winter wheat and potatoes were lower than in conventional cropping.
The experiments confirm that yields in organically cultivated cereals are limited by availability of nutrients (in particular nitrogen) and of weed competition (in particular perennial weeds). Pests and disease play a role on some crops like potatoes and faba beans.
Measurements of soil physical, chemical and microbial properties show that the better soil quality is found in the organic crop rotation with grass-clover and the poorest properties in the conventional rotation. A lower root biomass was measured in conventional cereals compared with organic treatments, despite higher grain yields in the conventional treatments.