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Research article2004Peer reviewed

Evaluation of farming systems according to valuation indices developed within a European network on integrated and ecological arable farming systems

Helander CA, Delin K


The aim of this fanning systems' project was to design, layout, evaluate, improve and disseminate results from two approaches to sustainable farming systems, namely those of "ecological" and "integrated" farming. As a reference, a conventional system was used as well. The farming systems were set up and studied at a farm-size scale; the total area for the experiment covered 60 ha of arable land, each field being between 2.5 and 4.0 ha. Our main emphasis was on development of farming systems; the design did not give priority to direct comparisons between different systems. For the evaluation of farming systems, multi-objective and dynamic parameters, such as a Soil Cover Index (SCI), Nitrogen Available Reserves (NAR), a Pesticide Index (PI), Energy Efficiency (EE), Phosphorus Available Reserves (PAR) and Net Surplus (NS) were used. The evaluation of the different farming systems showed that the ecological system surpassed the desired level for Net Surplus by a wide margin and also just reached the desired level for the Soil Cover Index, but failed to reach the desired level for Energy Efficiency and Nitrogen Available Reserves. The integrated system reached desired levels for Nitrogen Available Reserves and Energy Efficiency in 3 out of 4 years, and on average it reached the desired level for the Soil Cover Index and Net Surplus for the 4 years. The integrated system did not on average reach the desired level for the Pesticide Index. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved


Crop rotation; Cropping system; Nitrogen; Organic farming; Phosphorous; Sustainable farming

Published in

European Journal of Agronomy
2004, Volume: 21, number: 1, pages: 53-67

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

Publication identifier


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