Higher Productivity in Danish arable crop production
The projected expansion of organic farming in Denmark is conditioned on increased arable crop production, which requires higher and more stable crop yields. This must be achieved while also phasing out the use of imported conventional manure and reducing environmental impacts, such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
HighCrop has two main hypotheses:
1) Higher yields and reduced environmental impact can be achieved by introduction of energy crops and improved management of nitrogen (N) in catch crops, green manure and crop residues; and
2) Low yields in practical arable organic farming are caused by a knowledge gap that requires new strategic management tools to overcome.
HighCrop applies a comprehensive approach linking research, development and demonstration. Research will improve our understanding of effects of N dynamics and weed pressure on crop productivity, N leaching, GHG emissions and soil biodiversity to derive essential models for N and weed management in organic arable cropping systems.
The key to development and dissemination will be new knowledge transfer tools which will be targeted by identification of real and perceived barriers on the farm, as well as in supply and knowledge chains. These concepts and tools will be tested on organic farms and disseminated to Danish organic advisers and farmers.
HighCrop will also make use of participatory approaches to synthesize and disseminate knowledge by organising workshops focusing on different supply chains.
2011: Progress and activities:
The activities of the project in 2011 have focused on the following areas:
Synthesis about the effects of nitrogen management and weed pressure on yields, N-leaching and greenhouse gas emissions. Here we performed statistical analysis of data from existing experimental studies (including the long-term organic crop rotation). This has been done in collaboration with other national and international projects.
There has been prepared preliminary concepts for nitrogen supply (fertilization) and weed (and prevention) based on existing models and the above synthesis.
A long-term experiment with organic arable crop rotations at Foulum is continued in a modified form. The measurements include yields, weed occurrence, N-leaching, nitrous oxide emissions, and biodiversity in cropping systems that vary in terms of green manure crops, energy crops, cover crops and fertilization.
Experiments with N-exploitation and losses from use of mobile green manures and biogas treatment of manure and plant material have been initiated. Preliminary investigations include measurements of losses during storage of these materials. In 2012, there will be field trials and laboratory studies of N-exploitation and loss after field application.
Implementation of demonstration experiments on practical farming around the cultivation of greater robustness and increased yields in crop production. Experiments in 2011 have focused on the establishment of different types of crops. This continued in 2012, which also launched trials around crop mixtures and improved nitrogen management.
In 2012, an interview study will be conducted with approx. 10 selected farmers on the potential barriers for implementing better strategies for nutrient supply and weed control. During 2011 there have been a series of meetings to ensure planning of interview surveys.
The project will develop strategic planning tools to use both the internet and by dialogue between consultants and farmers. There have been planning for this work in 2011, but activities will only start in 2012.
The project will organize a series of demonstrations and training courses for consultants and farmers. These activities, however, only starts in 2012. In 2011 HighCrop organized a supply chain workshop on bioenergy, biogas and green manure chain.
Jørgen E. Olesen
Blichers Allé 20, Postboks 50