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Direct drilling in organic farming

{Project} Direct drilling in organic farming. [Suorakylvö luomuviljelyssä.] Runs 2004 - 2004. Project Leader(s): Lötjönen, Timo, MTT Agrifood Research Finland.

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Summary

In the future the amount of farm subsidies is no more yield dependent. As a following the optimum of the production function is shifted from yield optimisation to costs minimisation. This forces organic farmers to reduce production costs, because marginal profit of yield increase is lower than the costs of the marginal factor input to raise the yield. Direct drilling proofed to save costs in mainstream cereal production under application of chemical weed and pest control. Expensive weed control in organic farming is the main reason why direct drilling technique in organic farming is hardly applied.
The aim of the project is to develop a suitable direct drilling technology for organic cereal production under Finnish conditions that guarantees 1.Reasonable weed control, 2.Reduced traffic, 3.Improved soil structure, 4.Cost savings, 5.High cereal quality.
Material and methods: Cereals will be drilled into white clover at the organic research farm of MTT Agricultural Engineering Research in Vihti. Some annual subcrop will also be tested. The experiment will be conducted with spring and winter cereals. At least the following four variants are tested: Direct drilling after ploughing, direct drilling after mowing of white clover, mowing of white clover after direct drilling and direct drilling without mowing of white clover. The project is divided into five work packages: 1. Direct drilling technology: Within this work package all technical aspects of the project are handled. Both spring cereal and winter cereal experiments will be established at Vihti. Four treatments are applied with five replications on 25m*3m sized plots. The knowledge, which is obtained in MTT's project: "Direct drilling of spring cereals", will be utilized during this study. 2. Weed control: Within this work package quantity and distribution of weeds is recorded. Perennial weeds are regarded as major threat in cereal production, particularly in organic farming in Finland. The most common and harmful species are Elymus repens, Cirsium arvense and Sonchus arvensis. During the growing period weed survey is conducted, weeds are counted and their dry matter mass is measured. 3. Soil structure: Within this work package quality of soil structure is recorded: Profile of tilled soil, soil odour, soil colour, soil crumb, soil layers, organic material, root development, soil surface and earth worm activities. 4. Crop management and quality: Organic cereal (mainly barley) production often suffers from protein quality. Beside a carefully planned crop rotation under sowing of legumes or legume blends e.g. during row harrowing can solve the problem. Because nitrogen is considered as the limiting factor in respect of quality and yield of organically produced cereals, simultaneous cultivation of cereals and legumes may support nitrogen nutrition. The following data will be collected: Growing stages and root development, yield, harvest index and grain quality in terms of protein quantity, thousand-grain weight, hectolitre weight and falling number, biological activity in terms of mass of edaphon, respiration, mineralisation of organic material, activity of enzymes, amino acid concentration, number of earthworms, environmental pollution in terms of N2O and NH4 emission, biodiversity in terms of weed societies and diversity of fauna. 5. The economy of direct drilling in organic farming: The production costs of cereals will be calculated in direct drilling, in conventional tillage and also in minimum-tillage. This cannot be done untill yield and weed data has been obtained.
All parameters above are recorded and analysed and concluded for further development of direct drilling techniques. Organic farmers and direct drilling equipment manufacturers will apply the results.


EPrint Type:Project description
Keywords:direct drilling, direct seed, conservation farming, no till, mulch seeding, organic farming, white clover, subcrop
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems > Cereals, pulses and oilseeds
Crop husbandry > Soil tillage
Research affiliation: Finland > MTT Agrifood Research > Agricultural Engineering
Research funders: Finland > MTT Agrifood Research
Start Date:1 January 2004
End Date:30 December 2004
Deposited By: Nykänen, Senior Scientist Arja
ID Code:5690
Deposited On:15 Sep 2005
Last Modified:20 Aug 2009 14:27

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