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Overview of farmers expected benefits of diversification. Report on national stakeholder involvement.

Hondebrink, M; Barbry, J; Himanen, Sari; Lakkenborg, H; Lepse, Liga; Trinchera, A. and Koopmans, Chris J. (2019) Overview of farmers expected benefits of diversification. Report on national stakeholder involvement. Lous Bolk institute, Driebergen.

[thumbnail of Benefits of diversification.pdf] PDF - English


Seven different European countries are participating in a transnational project SUREVEG (Strip-cropping and recycling of waste for biodiverse and resoURce-Efficient intensive VEGetable production). SUREVEG focuses on developing and implementing new diversified, intensive organic cropping systems using strip-cropping and fertility strategies from plant-based fertilizers for improved resilience, system sustainability, local nutrient recycling and soil carbon storage. This study focuses on providing references concerning benefits and drawbacks of strip-cropping and plant residues for soil fertility in field vegetable production at medium sized organic farms. Specifically to identify local stakeholders’ knowledge and develop ideas in an iterative approach on benefits of diversification in space, time and genes, and plant-based fertilizers. Activities included workshops with stakeholder involvement, to increase awareness and dialogue on strip-cropping and identify local technical and practical knowledge on organic systems. A survey was developed as a tool for having a more systematic discussion with the stakeholders in the workshops. With a selection of questions to analysis the performance criteria of strip-cropping in farmers perspective a transnational comparison of the findings is presented,. The workshops and surveys were executed in six different European countries. In total approximately 140 farmers and other stakeholders were participating in the workshops and 38 farmers filled out the survey.
The outcome of the survey and workshops in the different countries suggests that most farmers think fairly equally about the added values of strip-cropping. Higher resistance of crops against plagues and diseases is ranked high in all countries. This is followed by soil quality and benefits from increased agroecosystem biodiversity. Only Belgian farmers mentioned higher yield as an important added value, however certain individual farmers in different counties have ranked it high as well. Divers answers were given on the question on the most suitable width of the cropping-strips. For farmers this depends mostly on the machinery farmers have available for their daily practices. For the importance of crop traits, the efficient use of nutrients and resilience against diseases and plagues scored high throughout all countries investigated. Only Italian farmers mentioned nitrogen-fixing capacity as an important trait. The farmers in all countries thought the same about expected bottlenecks for implementing strip-cropping system: harvesting, weed control and technical problems.
The information obtained by the survey and workshops in the different countries is input for the experimental design of field trials in each country. Some countries changed their set-up for following years.
To conclude, in the participating countries, the use of strip-cropping is still limited. The farmers participating, consider strip-cropping a promising innovation. However, a lot of basic questions about strip-cropping still need to be answered for farmers before implementing strip-cropping. Farmers in every country will benefit from a database of best crops combinations. In Finland, the farmers explicitly mentioned the need of good companion crops for Brassicaceae and Apiaceae vegetables (suitable trap crops).

EPrint Type:Report
Keywords:Strip-cropping SureVeg Biodiversity Core Organic Vegetables Organic
Agrovoc keywords:
strip cropping
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Crop combinations and interactions
Farming Systems > Social aspects
Crop husbandry > Production systems > Vegetables
Crop husbandry > Crop health, quality, protection
Farming Systems > Farm nutrient management
Research affiliation:Belgium > Flanders > INAGRO, Department for Organic Crop Production (Rumbeke)
European Union > CORE Organic > CORE Organic Cofund > SUREVEG
Netherlands > Louis Bolk Institute
European Union > Other projects, departments, etc.
Deposited By: Koopmans, Dr. ir. Chris J.
ID Code:36734
Deposited On:18 Nov 2019 14:13
Last Modified:21 Apr 2023 13:15
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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