ICROFS Board is pleased with a versatile program with projects within the two focus areas "Climate and environment" and "Recycling and nutrient supply", which at the same time covers both animal husbandry and plant production, and that it once again has been possible to allocate funds to projects without a business plan, which is primarily aimed at strengthening the contribution of organic farming to benefit the community within the two focus areas.
The following projects have been granted:
REcycling, CONsumer CredibILity and Ecosystem integrity (RECONCILE), Jakob Magid, KU
The project assesses key soil and ecosystem health effects of using household waste compost, sewage biosolids and human urine in organic farming. Based on KU's long-term trials on waste recycling the project will investigate the effects of micro-plastics and heavy metals on the soil micro-food web and rhizobium populations. Drawing on these effects RECONCILE investigates consumer perception of the use of the above recycled fertilizers in Organic Agriculture. How do different information and communication strategies impact these perceptions?
The project includes: 1) In-depth qualitative exploration of consumer attention points on recycling and 2) based on this a quantitative analysis of a large number of consumers' attitudes to recirculation
Finally, the project will integrate health and soil effects of recycling and its impact on consumer perceptions of organic agricultural products in a report for future use by organic stakeholders.
Winter Feeding of Organic Sows (WI-FI), Peter Theil, AU
WI-FI addresses these challenges by focusing on sow nutrition to develop winter feeding strategies. The project provides new scientific knowledge on 1) Energy and protein requirements of outdoor sows fed two levels of dietary protein 2) Intake and utilisations of two roughage types and how these interact with sow body condition, reproduction and litter performance. Based on this knowledge and new knowledge of recycling byproduct for feed, new feeding strategies where roughage is taken into account when formulating concentrates to fulfill dietary needs will be developed and demonstrated in commercial herds. Finally, an on-farm climate accounting tool will be developed and tested on four farms.
Optimizing climate and production services of cover crops in organic arable rotations (CCRotate), Jim Rasmussen, AU
CCRotate will enhance the knowledge of the climate and production services of CC through literature review, use of long-term experimentation and through a targeted three-year field experiment aims at quantifying carbon and nitrogen fluxes of a range of CC species and species mixtures, including potential biological nitrification inhibition for lowering N2O emissions. A camera system will be developed to help farmers quantify in-field variation in CC quantity and quality. Improved farmer recommendations on the targeting of CC species and mixtures and their management in cropping systems will be distributed to enhance climate and production values. CCRotate is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 57,400 ton CO2- eq/yr. The project is expected to generate extra crop yield worth 54.7 mill. DKK and form the basis for marketing of a camera system for valuing CC with a value of 11 mill. DKK annually.
New strategies for organic egg production with reduced dietary phosphorus (ORPHEUS), Sanna Steenfeldt, AU
Through experiments with reduced phosphorous (P) content in the feed and in interaction with the strategically optimal time for calcium (Ca) allocation to the layers, research results are obtained which can identify an optimal feeding strategy for an entire egg production period, which can be implemented in practice at organic egg producers. A new feeding strategy reducing the P content in the manure must at the same time ensure a good bone health of the hens and a high egg shell quality so that the proportion of cracked eggs and thus food waste is reduced. The shell quality decreases with hen age, and it has major economic consequences for producers and egg packing companies if the shell quality cannot be kept at a high level. ORPHEUS will reduce the P excretion by 50 tonnes per year based on the current number of organic hens. The frequency of cracked eggs is expected to be reduced by 1% in the whole egg production period, which has a value of DKK 3.94 million per year. In addition, there will be side effects in the form of cheaper feed and increased N utilization in the field.
Open Field Biocontrol, Hans Joachim Offenberg, AU
Open Field Biocontrol, will develop a new sustainable measure to combat pests in Danish fruit production without the use of chemicals. Our measure is wood ants that eat insect pests, pathogen tissue and excrete antibiotics which kills plant pathogens. Yet, for this method to be applied we must stop ants from culturing aphids. This can be accomplished by offering the ants sugar solutions that are more attractive than the honeydew produced by their aphids. When we succeed with this, ants will stop aphid protection and growers can harvest their positive effects without risking aphid outbreaks. Open Field Biocontrol disrupt the ant-aphid cooperation by developing and testing such sugar solutions in an apple orchard. If successful, organic growers will get a new effective method to control pests. This can lead to higher and more stable yields and make organic production more attractive. The results are higher supply of organic fruits, less pesticide and fertilizer use and a higher biodiversity. The method is also climate friendly due to less energy consumption for sprayings and production of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
New Composting Technology for On-farm Nutrient and Carbon Recycling to Organic Soils and High-Value Crops (ComCrop), Hanne Lakkenborg Kristensen, AU
The AIM of ComCrop is to increase recirculation of on-farm materials for improved resource use efficiency, soil fertility and carbon storage. This will be achieved through development/testing of a new farm-scale compost technology and of its products of plant-based composts and mineral fertilizers in intensive vegetable production, while increasing knowledge of the use of the products and their medium/long-term effects on systems’ functioning. ComCrop will open new opportunities of on-farm recycling of waste, precision dosage of fertilizers, and compost application beneficial for soils. The outcome will be technology and guidance suited for largevolume crop producers, removing dependency on conventional animal manure; and relevant e.g. for self-sufficient communities bringing credibility and long-term sustainability to farmers.