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Systems Agronomy For Re-Designing Organic Grain Legume Cropping Systems

Reckling, Moritz; Bergkvist, Göran; Watson, Christine A.; Stoddard, Frederick L. and Bachinger, Johann (2021) Systems Agronomy For Re-Designing Organic Grain Legume Cropping Systems. Paper at: Organic World Congress 2021, Science Forum: 6th ISOFAR Conference co-organised with INRA, FiBL, Agroecology Europe, TP Organics and ITAB, Rennes, France, 8 - 10 September, 2021. [Completed]

[thumbnail of OWC2020-SCI-1278.pdf] PDF - English


The integration of grain legumes into European agricultural systems could contribute to the transition to more sustainable food production. While the general benefits from legume cultivation are widely known, especially in organic farming, there is little evidence on how to re-design organic cropping systems with legumes to make this option more attractive to farmers. The objectives of this study were to describe the constraints and opportunities of organic grain legume production perceived by farmers, explain the agronomic impacts of current grain legume cropping, explore technical options to improve grain legume agronomy, and to re-design current grain legume cropping systems in a participatory process with farmers. A co-design approach was implemented with organic farmers, advisors and scientists on 25 farms in northern Germany, that were part of two large demonstration networks of about 100 farms supporting grain legumes across Germany. We used the DEED research cycle (Describe, Explain, Explore and Design) as a conceptual framework combining on-farm research, crop rotation modelling, and on-station experiments. From it, we identified nine agronomic practices that either were novel or confirmed known strategies under new conditions, to re-design organic grain legume cropping systems at the field and farm level. We also demonstrate how to complement knowledge of farmers’ perceptions (Describe step) and formal knowledge from classical on-station experiments and modelling (Explain step) with on-farm research including the local views of farmers (Explore step) to identify tailored options for specific farm contexts rather than prescriptive solutions (Design step) to intensify legume production. This approach therefore contrasts with traditional methods that are often solely participatory and qualitative or model/experimental-based and quantitative. Hence, our results provide new insights in how to re-design cropping systems using a combination of participatory and quantitative approaches. While participatory approaches are common in developing countries, this study shows their potential in an industrialized context with large-scale farmers in Europe. These novel findings can be used as a starting point for further adaptations of organic cropping systems and contribute to the transitioning towards economically and environmentally more sustainable food and feed systems.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:Action research, DEED framework, experimentation, lupin, Participation, Soybean
Subjects: Crop husbandry
Research affiliation: International Conferences > 2021: Organic World Congress, Science Forum: 6th ISOFAR Conference co-organised with INRA, FiBL, Agroecology Europe, TP Organics and ITAB > Transitioning towards organic and sustainable food system
Deposited By: rey, m. frederic
ID Code:42281
Deposited On:07 Sep 2021 13:12
Last Modified:07 Sep 2021 13:12
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted
Additional Publishing Information:A book of abstracts of papers of the Science Forum at the Organic World Congress 2021, September 8-10, Online and on-site in Rennes, France '6th ISOFAR Conference co-organised with INRA, FiBL, Agroecology Europe, TP Organics and ITAB' has been published

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