Reduced tillage and green manures for sustainable organic cropping systems
Contract period:1 September 2011 to 1 September 2014
Main funder:CORE organic II (UK: Defra)
Contact staff at ORC:Jo Smith
Other staff involved:Sally Westaway
TILMAN-ORG is a collaborative project involving 15 partners across 10 European countries. The over-all aim of the project is to develop robust and sustainable arable crop production systems via the introduction of reduced tillage techniques combined with strategic use of green manures in organic crop rotations, while maintaining and improving soil quality and crop productivity parameters.
The specific objectives of the project are:
- to summarise existing knowledge and experiences on reduced tillage and green manures in organic systems in a wide range of soils and climates across Europe,
- to stimulate bio-geochemical processes governed by soil microorganisms and soil carbon build-up via reduced tillage and strategic integration of green manures into organic rotations,
- to improve weed control by integrating management techniques such as green manures, mechanical weeding and crop diversification, while evaluating impacts on weed diversity and their functional role in agro-ecosystems,
- to increase the efficiency of nutrient use by green manures (including N2-fixing legumes), thereby reducing off-farm inputs,
- to calibrate the farmers’ decision support tool NDICEA to assess the effects of reduced tillage options and green manuring on N cycling and C pools and
- to design viable organic cropping systems applying reduced tillage and green manures at the farm level for major European regions.
The Organic Research Centre with conduct trials at Duchy Home Farm comparing the use of a traditional mouldboard ploughing system with the use of a new reduced tillage machine called the Ecodyn.
More information on the trial can be found here (PDF 618KB).
Project leader and partners
- FiBL (Research Institute for Organic Agriculture), Switzerland – Project leader (Dr Paul Mäder)
- ISARA, France
- German Research Center for Environmental Health, Germany
- Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences, University of Kassel, Germany
- The Louis Bolk Institute, Netherlands
- Wageningen University, Netherlands
- Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research, Belgium
- Centre de Recherche Public, Luxembourg
- The University of Newcastle, United Kingdom
- Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonia
- University of Pisa Interdepartmental Centre for Agro-Ecological Research (CIRAA), Italy
- Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Italy
- University of Barcelona, Spain
- FiBL, Austria
Westaway S. 2014. Do reduced tillage and non-inversion tillage techniques work on organic farms? Results from new European research. The Organic Research Centre Bulletin 117 pp8-9
Crowley O, Showering J, Döring TF. 2010. Saving Fuel with Non Inversion Tillage. The Organic Research Centre Bulletin 103 (ISSN: 1367-6970)
Non-inversion tillage workshop held at Duchy Home Farm, 27.10.2011, organised by Mark Measures, IOTA