Due to scaling (up) and mechanisation, biodiversity and crop diversity in agriculture is declining more and more. This is bad for the crops’ resilience against diseases and infestations. Besides that, biodiversity is of important value when it comes to landscape. On the large, uniform plots, biodiversity around the edges of the plot is not contributing enough to the resilience of the production system. For biological agriculture, resilience is largely the only option to prevent diseases and infestations.
How does the project help?
In this project, research was being done to see if practical, feasible measures are possible in order to raise crop diversity and useful biodiversity within plots and crops. Think about strip cultivation or the cultivation of mixed crops. Measures such as minimal tillage in order to increase the chances of survival for both natural enemies as well as protecting micro-organisms were also researched. Modern techniques in the mechanisation, ICT and GPS can also contribute greatly to a better biodiversity within plots.
What has the project achieved?
The project has given an insight into the effects of crop diversity within plots. It appears to be economically feasible to apply strip cultivation using GPS and precision agriculture. The survey also showed that strip cultivation ensures that the germ Phytophtora Infestans doesn’t affect the potato as quickly. This is also the case for rust fungus in grains. Compared to the large-scale reference cultivation, biological cultivation has a higher yield according to the researchers. Apart from that, they noticed a much higher biodiversity with strip cultivation. The positive results have resulted in a number of companies now using strip cultivation.
Project title: Resilience through biodiversity
Project number: AF-14102
Duration: 2015 – 2016
Public budget: € 379,000
Private budget: € 228,000
Project partners: Louis Bolk Instituut, Productschap Akkerbouw, Bionext en Wageningen University & Research
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