Project Aim: The main aim of the project is to use an ecological approach to analyse the interactions of a range of key variables in organic wheat production (wheat genotype, spatial arrangement of seed, seed density and sowing date) including the major factor of wheat/white clover inter-cropping, so as to determine an optimal approach to improved and stabilised production.
The wheat genotypes will include a conventional control, one variety selected for low input conditions and samples of composite cross populations selected under organic conditions. Each of these genotypes will be subjected to the range of agronomic treatments.
A subsidiary aim will be to compare the organic weed management systems of mechanical hoeing and/or harrowing with the potential suppression of weed populations by competition for resources from wheat (drilled in a spatially effective manner) and from clover occupying potential weed space.
The main outcomes from the project will be disseminated widely in the organic farming industry to provide an opportunity for generally enhanced, and more reliable, productivity and quality in winter wheat production. This should help organic farmers in the UK towards meeting the increasingly high demand for organic milling wheat. Furthermore, it should also help with recruitment to organic farming, in line with EU and Government policy.