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Testing the Sustainability of Organic Crop Yields and Rotations - OF03100

The proposed work will gather crop yield and soil-fertility data from the former MAFF/Defra funded long-term organic conversion/monitoring projects at ADAS Terrington, HRI Huntsmill, Ty Gywn (IBERS) as well as other long term trials at Elm Farm, Tulloch and Woodside (SRUC). The data gathered from the above sources will be assessed using NDICEA, a dynamic and deterministic model of soil nitrogen dynamics that has been successfully developed and applied to organic systems (e.g. Topp et al., 2006).
In a second stage of work, typical rotations for organic systems will be assessed using calibrated versions of the model, adjusted for the site conditions of the organic trials. Typical rotation and yield data will be drawn from the available literature (e.g. Lampkin et al., 2011; de Ponti et al., 2012; Seufert et al., 2012, Farm Business Survey) and structured interviews with experts (e.g. organic farmers and advisors from the Institute of Organic Training and Advice).
The nutrient balances produced will allow for a comparison of the long-term sustainability of typical rotations and yields within a range of soil and climate zones.
The results will feed into a study exploring the environmental impacts of a 100% conversion to organic management in England and Wales, using a General Algebraic Modelling System (GAMS) based linear program. Results from the assessments will be presented at the Association of Applied Biologists Sustainable Intensification Conference in 2014 and a peer reviewed publication will be submitted.
The aim of the work proposed would be to assess the sustainability of typical organic crop rotations on a range of soil types/climate zones in the UK with particular regard to nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium supply/demand.

Output: nutrient balances for the long terms organic trials and farm-system appropriate organic rotations
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : OF03100 Sustainability Organic Rotations - Final report   (763k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 1 OM summary calcs   (18k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 2 Crop Yields   (508k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2014

To: 2014

Cost: £25,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
The Progressive Farming Trust Ltd t/a The Organic Research Centre
Organic Farming