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Awarded master thesis provides important insights on organic and conventional farming in a semi-arid environment

Steffen Schweizer receiving the Hans H. Ruthenberg Award 2016. (Photo: Stiftung fiat panis)

The Fiat Panis Foundation awarded the Hans H. Ruthenberg Award 2016 to a student from the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and the University of Hohenheim: Steffen Schweizer analysed the soil structure and interrelated soil properties by connecting the latest laboratory methods with on-farm analyses of the SysCom long-term experiment located in Madhya Pradesh, India. The findings of Schweizer's master thesis provide important insights about long-term effects of organic and conventional farming on agro-ecological soil properties in a semi-arid environment. Together with his supervisors and co-workers, the team of researchers is currently preparing a manuscript about the processes affecting the soil fertility of a clayey Vertisol in subtropical cotton production.

This work has been conducted in the framework of the long-term systems comparison program, which is financially supported by Biovision Foundation, Coop Sustainability Fund, Liechtenstein Development Service (LED) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). A travel grant of the fiat panis foundation enabled the first author to visit India for data collection. The local partner bioRe India Limited provided great support during the field visit.

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