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Potential of indicators to unveil the hidden side of cropping system classification: Differences and similarities in cropping practices between conventional, no-till and organic systems

Büchi, Lucie; Georges, Florent; Walder, Florian; Banerjee, Samiran; Keller, Thomas; Six, Johan; van der Heijden, Marcel and Charles, Raphael (2019) Potential of indicators to unveil the hidden side of cropping system classification: Differences and similarities in cropping practices between conventional, no-till and organic systems. European Journal of Agronomy, 109, p. 125920.

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Document available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1161030118305653


Summary

To compare different cropping systems, it is crucial to describe explicitly the associated cropping practices. A set of 31 indicators and six composite indexes addressing farm structure, crop diversification, soil disturbance, organic matter inputs, nitrogen fertilisation, crop protection, and yield was used to describe 59 winter wheat fields belonging to conventional, no-till and organic systems, in Switzerland. The aim of this study was to investigate the complementarity and redundancy of the indicators and their potential to characterise these cropping systems. In general, weak correlations were observed between the studied indicators, showing the importance of using a set of indicators to fully characterise cropping practices. The complex indicators were often correlated with simpler ones, but it cannot be excluded that they can prove to be more useful in different contexts. Retaining a combination of simple and complex indicators to obtain a broad picture of cropping practices is thus recommended. The indicators highlighted differences but also similarities between the three systems. For example, the input of organic matter and crop rotation diversification were similar between the three systems. In contrast, total nitrogen fertilisation (lower for organic systems) and soil disturbance (lower for no-till systems) were different. A high within-system variability was observed for some indicators, suggesting that using quantitative indicators rather than simple classifications based on a general description of the systems allows a better characterisation of these systems. Overall, the use of indicators has the potential to improve our understanding of the influence of cropping practices on the soil and environment.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Field level indicators, Composite indexes, Crop diversification, Organic matter inputs, Soil disturbance intensity, On-farm study
Agrovoc keywords:
Language
Value
URI
English
indicators
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_330058
English
cropping systems
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_1971
English
conventional tillage
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_34250
English
conservation tillage
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_33445
English
organic agriculture
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_15911
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems
Crop husbandry > Soil tillage
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Crops > Field trials > Systems comparison
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Soil > Tillage
Deposited By: Charles, Dr. Raphaël
ID Code:37635
Deposited On:30 Sep 2021 13:03
Last Modified:30 Sep 2021 13:03
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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