Current organic farming offers useful starting-points for development of farming systems with quantified objectives in environment, nature and landscape. However, some shortcomings prevent acceptance by and support of wider groups of producers and consumers. Therefore, a prototype consisting of three innovative farming methods was designed and tested in interaction with ten pilot farms.
To maintain quality production without synthetic pesticides and avoiding use of heavy machinery.
Figure 1. MCR for sandy clay and clay soils balancing strong and weak contribution to soil fertility (maximal frequency crops 1:6, crop groups including green manure crops 1:3, lifted crops 1:2)
To provide crops with nutrients in an economically and ecologically acceptable way without single directly available Fertilizers.
Figure 2. ENM for sandy clay and clay soils, aimed at tuning inputs by legumes (biological N-fixation), green manure crops and manure at P and K reserves of the soil and N needs by crop
To provide a network of landscape elements for flora, fauna and recreation in the agricultural area.
Figure 3. The INR consists of 5 percent of the production area, with ditches and permanent grass strips as main elements and side elements like a reed strip, hedge or haystack
Prototyping research takes place in interaction with a group of ten pilot farms, to:
Results for quantity and quality of products, environment and nature of the farms are evaluated annually using a set of parameters with quantified innovative norms. Shortcomings are analysed systematically with the pilot farmers in order to improve farming methods and management:
After seven years, the prototype has solved major shortcomings to a wide extent. Remaining shortcomings are analysed to proceed with targeted specialized research.
Figure 4. Result of prototyping on ten pilot farms quantified in 18 parameters relative to desired results. The three farming methods are: Multifunctional Crop Rotation (MCR), Ecological Nutrient Management (ENM) and Infrastructure for Nature and Recreation (INR)
Legumes and green manure crops are able to supply sufficient N over the crop rotation at reduced manure inputs, but N management by crop needs to be improved. Wheat and potato have too low N supply in 30 percent of the fields.
Vereijken, P. and H. Kloen (1993): "Final report 1992". In: Ph. Viaux (Ed.), Research into and development of integrated arable farming systems. European network. Final Report (Part 2): 66-82 pp.
Vereijken, P. and H. Kloen (1994): "Innovative research with ecological pilot farmers". In: Plant production on the threshold of a new century. Proceedings 75th Anniversary of the Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, held 28 June-1 July 1993. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, NL, 37-56 pp.
Vereijken, P., H. Kloen and R. Visser (1995): "Focus on testing an EAFS prototype in pilot project NL2". Vereijken, P (Ed.). Designing and testing prototypes. Progress Reports of Research Network on Integrated and Ecological Arable Farming Systems for EU and Associated Countries, Concerted Action AIR 3 - CT 920755, AB-DLO (Ed.), Wageningen, The Netherlands, Progress Report 2: 73-86 pp.
Kloen, H. and P. Vereijken (1997): "Testing and improving ecological nutrient management with pilot farmers". In: Isart, J. & J.J. Llerena (Eds.), Resource use in organic farming - Proceedings of the ENOF Workshop, Ancona, 5-6 June. LEAAM - Agro-ecologia (CID-CSIC), Barcelona, Spain: 233-242 pp.
Vereijken, P., R. Visser and H. Kloen (1998): "Focus on improving an EAFS prototype in Flevoland (NL 2)". in: Vereijken, P.(Ed.), Improving and disseminating prototypes. Progress Reports of Research Network on Integrated and Ecological Arable Farming Systems for EU and Associated Countries, Concerted Action AIR 3 - CT 920755, AB-DLO (Ed.), Wageningen, The Netherlands, Progress Report 4: 24-40 pp.