ReMIX will exploit the benefits of species mixtures to design more diversified and resilient agro-ecological arable cropping systems less dependent on external inputs. Based on a multi-actor approach, it will tackle practical questions and co-design ready-to-use practical solutions adapted to producing mainly grain cash crops in diverse EU pedo-climatic conditions. ReMIX will: 1) overcome barriers to stimulate the adoption of species mixtures by farmers and in agri-food chains, 2) unravel mechanisms of plant-plant, plant-herbivore and plant-microbe interactions to maximize resource use efficiency, alleviate yield damages and improve ecosystem service provision and development of resilience to biotic stress, 3) identify key traits and create novel breeding material and phenotyping methods and tools adapted to species mixtures, 4) develop generic rules for assembling species for efficient cash crop production using process-based simulation models, 5) develop new intercropping management techniques 6) optimise settings and specifications for agricultural machines for harvesting and separating grains, and 7) develop a tool box, an educational serious game and technical booklets for farmers and advisors.
The goal of ReMIX is to exploit the benefits of species mixtures to design productive, diversified, resilient and environmentally friendly agro-ecological cropping systems less dependent on external inputs than current systems and acceptable to farmers and actors in the agri-food chain.
Species mixtures – also known as intercrops, crop associations or ‘plant teams’ – can enhance water and nutrient use efficiency and improve the control of pests, diseases and weeds, while increasing crop productivity and resilience to biotic and abiotic stresses, including those triggered by climate change. Species mixtures can lead to reduced use of fossil energy and chemical inputs and enhance production of ecosystem services. The project aims to increase the productivity and yield stability of arable crops and improve their adaptability to increasingly variable environments by the use of species mixtures, both in conventional and organic agriculture and under diverse pedo-climatic conditions.
In species mixtures, different plant species are grown simultaneously on the same field for a significant part of their growth cycle (Willey, 1979). In ReMIX, three types of species mixtures will be studied:
Making use of current cereal and legume species diversity, specific lines/populations suited for species mixtures will be selected from a panel of modern and traditional varieties and new genetic resources. ReMIX will follow a multi-actor approach involving a wide range of actors throughout the project lifetime in order to efficiently tackle end users’ practical questions and propose ready-to-use feasible, practical solutions adapted to diverse European pedo-climatic conditions. The project will range from the specification of practical needs and the co-creation of experiments to the evaluation of new varieties and practices in field demonstrations in on-farm platforms. ReMIX will benefit from the participation of several partners in flagship EU projects in the fields of crop breeding, cereal and grain legume cultivation, plant disease and pest control and soil-intercrop modelling.
To reach this ambitious goal, ReMIX will pursue and achieve the following objectives:
At the scientific level: to:
At the technological and industrial level: to develop and validate novel approaches, such as:
At the agricultural level: to foster cooperation with farmers and other value chain actors to deliver:
Tasks leader, project partner, Work package co-lead