Changing the future of food and farming

Intercropping in arable systems

Event Date : May 2, 2018

Field lab meeting at Bockhanger Farms in Kent. Oaklands Farm, TN26 1ER

Interest in intercropping has been growing amongst conventional and organic farmers for some time. This Innovative Farmers/DIVERSify field lab will look at how farmers can use intercropping to make their arable systems more sustainable and productive. It has been developed by ORC researchers Charlotte Bickler and Katie Bliss since summer 2017, through the EU H2020-funded DIVERSify project: Designing InnoVative plant teams for Ecosystem Resilience and agricultural Sustainability. Initial meetings were held at John Pawsey’s Shimpling Park Farm, ORC’s Winter Organic Cereals event and partner events organised by LEAF and Stockbridge Technology Centre (who are hoping to establish an intercropping group for the north of England).

The field lab kicked off properly with a meeting at ORC in January 2018 to plan the trials. Group members will be growing various cereal-legume intercrops, along with novel combinations such as Spring Oil Seed Rape and Faba Bean, and Carlin Peas and Spring Triticale. On-farm trials will be corroborated by on-station trials in our research plots at Sonning in collaboration with the team there who also have an interest in this subject.

This field lab will be hosted by Andy Howard and there will be a chance to see some of these crop combinations in the field.

We will start the day at 10am and Andy will show us around including the cross-slot drill, and intercrop separator. There will hopefully be bean/OSR intercrop, spring oats undersown with clover and linseed/lentils to see in the field. We will discuss the group trials and potential ‘working groups’ that are coming out of the crop combos being tested, and have lunch in a local pub.

Please contact Charlotte Bickler if you are interested in attending

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