In this article, Paul Mäder, Christophe David and Julia Cooper of the TILMAN-ORG team discuss their aims to develop organic farming and conservation agricultural practices through the TILMAN-ORG project, and what challenges must be overcome.
Project leader Paul Mäder of FiBL explains that the goal of TILMAN-ORG is to develop improved organic farming systems through the introduction of conservation agriculture practices (such as less invasive tillage and green manures), which ameliorate soil fertility and biodiversity; improve yield and profitability; and have less impact on climate change through reduced fuel consumption, carbon sequestration and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
TILMAN-ORG will identify recommended practices that result in cropping systems which are more productive, financially viable, and which also require less energy and have smaller ecological footprints than traditional farming practices. Farmers will be able to adopt the improved cropping systems on their farms – in fact, the process has already started on pioneer farms.
The research outputs are also particularly interesting for policy makers says Mäder; the environmentally friendly systems identified may be supported by specific agricultural schemes. Strong links also exist with machinery manufacturers, which will enable the development of a new generation of
equipment specifically adapted to reduced tillage systems in organic farming.
Paul Mäder, FiBL
The TILMAN-ORG project is one of the projects initiated in the framework of the European ERA-Net project CORE Organic II, Coordination of European Transnational Research in Organic Food and Farming Systems (www.coreorganic2.org).
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