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Doctoral thesis2024Open access

Constraints and opportunities for organic crop production in areas of high agricultural productivity : exploring the diversity of on-farm management practices in organic cereal production with a focus on crop sequence, yield variability and nutrient supply

Reumaux, Rafaelle

Abstract

Agricultural intensification has led to simplified production systems characterised by uniform arable landscapes and a low diversity of cropping systems across Europe. Organic farming has been put forward as one option for sustainable agriculture. However, studies assessing the diversity within organic cropping systems, and exploring processes that occur on farms as well as across different biophysical conditions are rare. The aim of my thesis was to examine the current diversity in organic farming practices, and to explore management alternatives to foster the increase in productivity of organic arable farming in highly productive areas. With the help of extensive national farmer reported data over a 10-year period, and on-farm data from 67 fields in south and southwestern Sweden, I identified large variations in both crop sequences and cereal yield in organic agriculture. The revealed disparities create an opportunity to make organic arable farming more profitable through adaptations in management practices, such as timely nutrient supply, and the implementation of precision agricultural methods to quantify within-field variation in organic cropping systems. I tested the application of biogas digestate as fertiliser to growing wheat, following perennial grass-legume ley, and found it to be a promising nitrogen management strategy to increase grain yield and protein content. My research findings contribute to the understanding of how organic crop production and productivity can be improved by integrating knowledge of site-specific biophysical processes with agronomic and ecological aspects of the cropping system.

Keywords

biogas digestate; cereals; crop sequence; management practices; nitrogen strategy; on-farm trial; organic farming; preceding crop; protein content.

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2024, number: 2024:34ISBN: 978-91-8046-332-4, eISBN: 978-91-8046-333-1Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.54612/a.1gli1g6skv

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/128553