Spezielle Optimierungen für den Internet Explorer 11 stehen noch an. Bitte nutzen Sie derweil zur besseren Ansicht einen aktuelleren Browser wie z.B. Firefox, Chrome

DOK Experiment: Long-term study on bio-dynamic, bio-organic and conventional farming systems


In the DOK experiment, bio-dynamic, bio-organic and conventional (integrated) farming systems are compared since 1978, mimicking real farming practices in a plot design. The experiment is worldwide unique, so that soil and plant samples originating from the experimental plots serve as a reference for numerous national and international projects. Various projects are currently conducted in the field of soil quality and functions as well as plant mutual symbioses. The development of soil organic carbon over time and the bio-geochemical processes in soil are of paramount importance especially in view of climate change.

The DOK experiment is a valuable base for several EU project collaborations. The field plots are jointly managed by FiBL (Frick) and Agroscope Reckenholz (Zurich). In the recent decade, the DOK experiment has also become an example for various long-term farming systems comparison experiments (SYSCOM projects) in the tropics. The FiBL Department of International Cooperation established SYSCOM experiments in Kenya, Central India and Bolivia, in close collaboration with local partners and supported by the FiBL Department of Soil Sciences.

Project website

Project website

Detailed Description

Current projects which make use of the DOK experiment

1. Individual Projects

  • Effects of biochar amendment on plant growth, microbial communities and biochar decomposition in agricultural soils. Swiss National Science Foundation (2011-2014) Dr. Andreas Gattinger, Dr. Andreas Fliessbach, Dr. Paul Mäder, FiBL, Frick
  • Below ground input and turnover of symbiotically fixed nitrogen along a soil nutrient availability gradient. Swiss National Science Foundation (2011-2014) Dr. Jochen Mayer, PD Dr. Andreas Lüscher, Agroscope, Zurich, Dr. Astrid Oberson, ETHZ, Zurich
  • Zink biofortification of wheat through organic matter management in sustainable agriculture (ZOMM) Mercator Research Program of the World Food Centre (2013-2016) Prof. Rainer Schulin, Prof. Emmanuel Frossard, ETHZ, Zurich; Dr. Paul Mäder, Gurbir Bhullar Singh and Dr. Cécile Thonar, FiBL, Frick; Dr. Jochen Mayer, Agroscope
  • Determination of sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in Swiss arable soils (DOK trial). Federal Office for the Environment FOEN and Federal Office for Agriculture FOAG (2012-2015) Dr. Andreas Gattinger, Dr. Paul Mäder, FiBL, Frick

2. Projects within the Swiss National Research Programme NRP 68: ‘Sustainable Use of Soil as a Resource’ www.nfp68.ch/E/projects/Pages/default.aspx

Clusters ‘Soil Biology’ and ‘Farming’

  • Structure and function of N2O producing and reducing microbial communities as influenced by soil management. Swiss National Science Foundation NFP 68 (2013-2016) Dr. Andreas Gattinger, Dr. Cecile Thonar, Dr. Paul Mäder, FiBL, Frick
  • Agricultural management and below ground carbon inputs – Sustaining soil quality. Swiss National Science Foundation, NFP 68 (2013-2016) Dr. Jochen Mayer, PD Dr. Jens Leifeld Agroscope, Zurich, PD Dr. Andreas Hund, ETHZ, Zurich, Dr. Samuel Abiven, University of Zurich
  • Applications of entomopathogenic nematodes for a sustainable control of soil insect pests. Swiss National Science Foundation, NFP 68 (2013-2016) Prof. Théodoor Turlings, Université de Neuchâl
  • Protecting soil as a safe resource: Antibiotic resistome metagenomics and impact of land use on resistance dynamics. Swiss National Science Foundation, NFP 68 (2013-2016) Dr. Brion Duffy, Zürcher Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften ZHAW
  • Sustaining and improving soil health with plant-beneficial bacteria. Swiss National Science Foundation, NFP 68 (2013-2016) Dr. Monika Maurhofer Bringolf, ETHZ, Zurich
  • Recruitment limitation in soil? Restoring soil ecosystem functioning and sustainability by introducing below ground mutualists. Swiss National Science Foundation, NFP 68 (2013-2016) Dr. Marcel Van der Heijden, Agroscope, Zurich

3. EU FP 7 Framework Programme

  • Resource preservation by application of bioeffectors in European crop production (BIOFECTOR). EU FP7 (2013-2018). Coordinator: Prof. Günter Neumann, Univ. Hohenheim; Switzerland: Dr. Paul Mäder, Dr. Cécile Thonar, Dr. Sarah Symanczek, FiBL http://www.biofector.info/
  • Improving nutrient efficiency in major European food, feed and biofuel crops to reduce the negative environmental impact of crop production (NUE-CROPS). EU FP 7 (2009-2014). Coordinator: Prof. Carlo Leifert, Univ. New Castle; Switzerland: Dr. Paul Mäder, Dr. Cécile Thonar, Dr. Monika Messmer, FiBL. http://research.ncl.ac.uk/nefg/nuecrops/page.php?page=1
  • Distributed Infrastructure for Experimentation in Ecosystem Research (EXPEER). EU FP 7 (2011-2014). Co-ordination: Dr. Abad Chabbi, INRA; Switzerland: Dr. Paul Mäder, FiBL CH, Dr. Jochen Mayer, Agroscope,. www.expeeronline.eu
Financing/ Donor


(Research) Program
  • Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) – Research, training and innovation
Project partners
  • Agroscope, CH, Reckenholz, INH, Zurich : Dr. Jochen Mayer, Dr. Hans Rudolf Oberholzer, Dr. David Dubois, Dr. Marcel van der Hei-jden, Dr. Fritz Oehl, Dr. Franco Widmer, Dr. Padruot Fried
  • University of Basel, CH, Botany: Prof Thomas Boller, Prof. em. Andreas Wiemken, Dr. Mathimaran Natarajan
  • Universität Basel, CH, Umweltgeowissenschaften: Prof. Christine Alewell, Dr. Franz Conen (Research fellow)
  • ETH Zurich, CH, Group of Plant Nutrition: Prof. Emmanuel Frossard, Dr. Astrid Oberson, Dr. Else Bünemann
  • ETH Zurich, CH, USYS, ITES, Soil Protection Group: Prof. Rainer Schulin, Dr. Michael Evangelou
  • Universität Kassel Witzenhausen, DE, Organic Agricultural Sciences: Prof. Jürgen Hess, Prof. Rainer Jörgensen, Prof. Maria Finckh, Dr. Christian Bruns, Dr. Johannes Kahl

See also current project collaborations

Project Advisory Board

Swiss Organic farmers, e.g.: R. Benz, D. Böhler, U. Büeler, Ch. Butscher, M. Hünerfauth, A. Ineichen, H. Lutke Schipolt, C. Müller, H. Oswald, R. Sax, U. Sprecher

FiBL project leader/ contact
FiBL project staff (people who are not linked are former FiBL employees)
Role of FiBL

Coordination (jointly with Agroscope)

Further information

DOK Literature (selection)

  • Arncken CM, Mäder P, Mayer J, Weibel FP. Sensory, yield and quality differences between organically and conventionally grown winter wheat. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 2012;92(14):2819-25.
  • Esperschütz J,Gattinger A, Mäder P, Schloter M, Fliessbach A. Response of soil microbial biomass and community structures to conventional and organic farming systems under identical crop rotations. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 2007;61(1):26-37.
  • Fliessbach A, Mäder P, Niggli U. Mineralization and microbial assimilation of 14C-labeled straw in soils of organic and conventional agricultural systems. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 2000;32:1131-1139.
  • Fliessbach A, Messmer M, Nietlispach B, Infante V, Mäder P. Effects of conventionally bred and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) maize varieties on soil microbial biomass and activity. Biology and Fertility of Soils 2012;48:315-24.
  • Fliessbach A, Nietlispach B, Messmer M, Rodríguez-Romero A-S, Mäder P. Microbial response of soils with organic and conventional management history to the cultivation of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)-maize under climate chamber conditions. Biology and Fertility of Soils 2013;49:829-837.
  • Fliessbach A, Oberholzer H-R, Gunst L, Mäder P. Soil organic matter and biological soil quality indicators after 21 years of organic and conventional farming. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 2007;118:273-84.
  • Hildermann I, Messmer M, Dubois D, Boller T, Wiemken A, Mäder P. Nutrient use efficiency and arbuscular mycorrhizal root colonization of winter wheat cultivars in different farming systems of the DOK long-term trial. Journal of the Science of  Food and Agriculture 2010;90:2027-38.
  • Hildermann I, Thommen A, Dubois D, Boller T, Wiemken A, Maeder P. Yield and baking quality of winter wheat cultivars in different farming systems of the DOK long-term trial. Journal of the Science of  Food and Agriculture 2009;89(14):2477-91.
  • Langenkämper G, Zörb C, Seifert M, Mäder P, Fretzdorff B, Betsche T. Nutritional quality of organic and conventional wheat. Journal of Applied Botany and Food Quality 2006;80:150-4.
  • Mäder P, Edenhofer S, Boller T, Wiemken A, Niggli U. Arbuscular mycorrhizae in a long-term field trial comparing low-input (organic, biological) and high-input (conventional) farming systems ina rop rotation. Biology and Fertility of Soil 2000;31:150-6.
  • Mäder P, Fliessbach A, Dubois D, Gunst L, Fried P, Niggli U. Soil fertility and biodiversity in organic farming. Science. 2002;296:1694-7.
  • Mäder P, Fliessbach A, Dubois D, Gunst L, Jossi W, Widmer F, et al. The DOK experiment (Switzerland). In: Raupp J, Pekrun C, Oltmanns M, Köpke U, editors. Long-term Field Experiments in Organic Farming International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR), Scientific Series. Berlin: Verlag Dr. Köster; 2006. p. 41-58.
  • Mäder P, Hahn D, Dubois D, Gunst L, Alföldi T, Bermann H, et al. Wheat quality in organic and conventional farming: results of a 21-year old field experiment. Journal of the Science of  Food and Agriculture 2007;87:1826-35.
  • Oehl F, Sieverding E, Ineichen K, Mäder P, Boller T, Wiemken A. Impact of land use intensity on the species diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in agrooecosystems of central Europe. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2003;69:2816-24.
  • Oehl F, Sieverding E, Mäder P, Dubois D, Ineichen K, Boller T, et al. Impact of long-term conventional and organic farming on the diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Oecologia 2004;138:574-83.
  • Pfiffner L, Mäder P. Effects of Biodynamic, Organic and Conventional Production Systems on Earthworm Populations. Biological Agriculture and Horticulture 1997;15:3-10.
  • Pfiffner L, Niggli U. Effects of bio-dynamic, organic and conventional farming on ground beetles (Col. Carabidae) and other epigaeic arthropods in winter wheat. Biological Agriculture and Horticulture 1996;12:353-64.
  • Siegrist S, Schaub D, Pfiffner L, Mäder P. Does organic agriculture reduce soil erodibility? Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 1998;69:253-64.
  • Zörb C, Niehaus K, Barsch A, Betsche T, Langenkämper G. Levels of compounds and metabolites in wheat ears and in grains under special consideration of organic and conventional agriculture. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2009b;57:9555-62.
Research area
FiBL project number 10015
Date modified 12.11.2019
Back to the overview / search