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Innovations in Agroecology – a case study from the Netherlands

In Noord-Brabant, a region in South-West Netherlands, Govert van Dis and his wife Phily Brooijmans are running an organic arable farm of around 100 hectares. They run the farm together and actively follow innovations in agroecology. Crops are grown without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, therefore crop rotation forms the basis of the farming system.  In addition, several crops are grown in an intercropping system. As the farm is pesticide-free, weed management is one of the major challenges. Various measures are taken to control weeds, such as the use of machinery in the early stages of crop growth. Innovations in weed management are followed and new machinery is developed. For instance, they invested in a double GPS systems: for the tractor as well as for the machinery, which helps in weed management. 

To prevent pollution of waterways, run-off and volatilization, there are strict regulations regarding the use of organic manure in the Netherlands. green manures are an important aspect of the agroecological farming system to ensure sufficient nitrogen for the crops. The farmers also developed an exchange system with local livestock producers. Their grass/clover mixture is mown several times a year by a local organic livestock farmers in exchange for the manure. In order to maintain soil health, the tractors are always driving in the same fixed paths throughout the season and ploughing is done with a special eco-plough. 

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Publisher: FAO
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Author: Phily Brooijmans
Other authors: Govert van Dis
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Year: 2017
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Country/ies: Netherlands
Geographical coverage: Europe and Central Asia
Type: Case study
Full text available at: http://www.fao.org/3/a-bs181e.pdf
Content language: English
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