Changing the future of food and farming

Research projects

Reduced tillage and green manures for sustainable organic cropping systems

Reduced tillage and green manures for sustainable organic cropping systems

Acronym : TILMAN-ORG

Contract Period : 01/09/2011 - 01/09/2014

Project Webpage : http://www.tilman-org.net/

Main Funder : CORE organic II (UK: Defra)

ORC Staff Contact : Jo Smith

In the TILMAN-ORG project the ORC is collaborating with 15 partners across 10 European countries to investigate the effects of reduced tillage and green manures on organic farms.

Project Aims:

TILMAN-ORG is a collaborative project involving 15 partners across 10 European countries.
The over-all aim of the project is to develop robust and sustainable arable crop production systems via the introduction of reduced tillage techniques combined with strategic use of green manures in organic crop rotations, while maintaining and improving soil quality and crop productivity parameters.

The specific objectives of the project are:

  1. to summarise existing knowledge and experiences on reduced tillage and green manures in organic
    systems in a wide range of soils and climates across Europe,
  2. to stimulate bio-geochemical processes governed by soil microorganisms and soil carbon build-up via
    reduced tillage and strategic integration of green manures into organic rotations,
  3. to improve weed control by integrating management techniques such as green manures, mechanical
    weeding and crop diversification, while evaluating impacts on weed diversity and their functional role in
    agro-ecosystems,
  4. to increase the efficiency of nutrient use by green manures (including N2-fixing legumes), thereby reducing off-farm inputs,
  5. to calibrate the farmers’ decision support tool NDICEA to assess the effects of reduced tillage options and green manuring on N cycling and C pools and
  6. to design viable organic cropping systems applying reduced tillage and green manures at the farm level for major European regions.

ORC's Role:

The Organic Research Centre with conduct trials at Duchy Home Farm comparing the use of a traditional mouldboard ploughing system with the use of a new reduced tillage machine called the Ecodyn.

More information on the trial can be found here (PDF 618KB).

Project leader and partners:

Publications:

Westaway S. 2014. Do reduced tillage and non-inversion tillage techniques work on organic farms? Results from new European research. The Organic Research Centre Bulletin 117 pp8-9

Crowley O, Showering J, Döring TF. 2010. Saving Fuel with Non Inversion Tillage. The Organic Research Centre Bulletin 103 (ISSN: 1367-6970)

Project Output:

Non-inversion tillage workshop held at Duchy Home Farm, 27.10.2011, organised by Mark Measures, IOTA

TILMAN-ORG questionnaire for farmers