Fertility Building CropsFertility management remains one of the most crucial aspects of organic production systems and has been identified as a priority for research. The choice of fertility building cropping has implications on soil structure and subsequent weed, pest and disease as well as on the soil nutrient dynamics. Garden Organic has been carrying out research on green manures for at least 15 years and are currently carrying out a Defra funded project (Fertility management strategies in organic arable and vegetable production, OF0363). The project has the following objectives:
- Objective1: To continue to monitor the agronomic and economic effects of three established stockless fertility building strategies at a site that has been monitored since 1995.
- Objective 2: To capture existing information about fertility building crops held by farmers and other experts.
- Objective 3: To assess the performance of a range of novel legumes (fertility building crops and cash crops) on several sites and to assess their impact on subsequent crops.
- Objective 4: To determine the usefulness of two recently developed computer models for assessing the nitrogen dynamics of organic rotations, specifically with regard to nitrate leaching.
- Objective 5: To interpret the results of the project by considering the long term implication of organic farming on soil fertility.
- Objective 6: To disseminate the findings of the project through a number of channels.
Further details of the project and information on green manures are on the web pages listed above.