OK-Net Arable presented its knowledge platform to an audience the 16 February at BIOFACH, Germany. The platform promotes exchange of knowledge among farmers, farm advisers, and scientists, with the aim of increasing productivity and quality in organic arable cropping across Europe.
At the BIOFACH, Bram Moeskops (IFOAM EU) started the seminar with an introduction to the OK-Net Arable (Organic Knowledge Network Arable), hereafter Laurence Fontaine (ITAB) presented OK-Net Arable’s experiences with farmer-led innovations.
Farmer Innovation Groups plays a prominent role in all stages of the project, making OK-Net Arable very innovative among projects of its kind. The farmers engage in a process of co-creation throughout the project. This work is facilitated by 14 farmer innovation groups.
Before a discussion with the enthusiastic seminar participants, a third presentation was given by ICROFS’ Ilse A. Rasmussen. She introduced the platform farmknowledge.org, which was launched in October 2016. The platform has been developed to exchange organic knowledge and enhance farming. It provides a wide range of resources, and is a virtual meeting place for cross-border learning.
The seminar participants were very interested in the platform, and had many questions, comments and suggestions for further development of the platform, indicating that they thought it was valuable for them. One suggestion was to include webinars – online seminars on a particular subject – as tools, in addition to the existing types: > Leaflets and guidelines > calculation tools > websites > videos > books and reports and > practice abstracts.
On the platform you can find tools and resources to help you improve soil quality and fertility or help you design a robust nutrient management plan and management plans for control of pests, diseases or weed. You will also find tools and resources that can help you improve the cultivation of specific crops.
Besides finding relevant tools, users of the platform can discuss different topics related to organic arable farming. The themes are divided according to the most relevant topics in organic arable farming: Soil quality and fertility, nutrient management, pest and disease control, weed management and solutions for specific crops. Not only can farmers and advisors find solutions and engage with each other, they can also propose new tools.
The platform is available in English, Bulgarian, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian.
Every week OK-Net Arable recommends and highlights a tool on the platform. During the last two months these tools have also been shared on the project partners’ social media channels. Below you find a selection of some of the recommended tools:
Scientific and practical knowledge on weeds on organic arable systems from the USA
The leaflet includes preventive measures as well as direct methods and review of available mechanical tools and specific farm experiences offering examples of each topic implementation.
To find out more about the tool go to: http://farmknowledge.org/index.php/search-for-ok-tools?v=30586
To join the discussion go to: http://farmknowledge.org/index.php/discussion-forum/weed-management
Visual assessment of origin of soil degradation and promotion of sustainable practices
Visual assessments provide an immediate diagnostic tool to evaluate soil quality, as many physical, biological (and to a lesser degree chemical) soil characteristics show up as visual characteristics. The Visual Soil Assessment (VSA) method has been developed to help land managers assess soil quality easily, quickly, reliably and cheaply on a paddock scale.
To find out more about the tool go to: http://farmknowledge.org/index.php/search-for-ok-tools?v=30582
To join the discussion, go to: http://farmknowledge.org/index.php/discussion-forum/soil-quality-and-fertility
Solutions, potentials and limitations in mechanical weed control - a German guide for organic farmers
The publication contains illustrations of agricultural machinery, direct and indirect measures and among others, solutions for tillage and seedbed preparation for arable crops.
To find out more about the tool go to: http://farmknowledge.org/index.php/search-for-ok-tools?v=30574
To join the discussion, go to: http://farmknowledge.org/index.php/discussion-forum/weed-management
A French guide with detailed descriptions of each cover crop
Indication of how to choose, how to manage and how to terminate species for cover crops and green manure.
To find out more about the tool go to: http://farmknowledge.org/index.php/search-for-ok-tools?v=30573
To join the discussion, go to: http://farmknowledge.org/index.php/discussion-forum/nutrient-management
The complexity of organic farming requires that the farmers have a very high level of knowledge and skills. But exchange on organic farming techniques remains limited. Therefore, the OK-Net Arable knowledge platform was developed. It is part of the OK-Net Arable project, which is coordinated by IFOAM EU and involves 17 partners from 12 countries throughout Europe.
OK-Net Arable is financed by Horizon 2020, the EU’s main funding instrument for research and innovation.
It started in March 2015 and will run until February 2018.