• Nutrients for higher organic crop yields

In spite of comprehensive knowledge on optimization of organic crop production, yields are in practice still way below potential.

There are three significant reasons for this:

  1. The availability of nutrients already present does not match plant needs due to lack of focus on importance of individual nutrients or poor synchronization in time
  2. on many farms, there is simply a lack of sufficient nutrient sources
  3. valuable knowledge about long term impact of farm management on 1 and 2) is in general not sufficiently implemented in practice by organic farmers and organic farm advisers.

The purpose of this project is to increase yields and resource efficiency in organic crop production by targeted and holistic optimisation of nutrient supply and efficient implementation in practice.

Goals of the project:

  1. to identify imbalances in fulfilling plant nutrient demands paying attention to crop rotations, soil type and yield level and with a focus on the main macro nutrients (N, P, K and S)
  2. to improve internal recycling in the crop rotation to relocate nutrients to where they are most needed. Recycling may be accomplished by strong catch crops where release is timed with subsequent needs, or by recycling plant materials (straw, green manure, catch crops) through biogas plants
  3. to identify and evaluate alternative nutrient sources focusing on suitable waste products of quantitative significance and a reasonable probability for approval in organic farming within a short to medium long time perspective
  4. to develop new concepts for inclusive advice and dissemination adapted to individual needs and with interaction between farmers, advisors and researchers supporting more efficient implementation of knowledge in practice and efficient feedback to advisors and researchers.

The project runs in 2017-2020.

Read the article Residual nitrogen effect of cover crops and straw by different crop management from the project.

Project leader

Jørgen Eriksen
Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University