CropMix across the border

Last month, two of our participating arable farmers and several young researchers travelled abroad. Read below about our visit to the European Cap Network in Austria and the Cropdiva symposium in Belgium.

Focus Group 'Crop associations including Milpa and protein crops' form the European Cap Network in

Vienna, Austria, 28-29 November 2023

On the 28 and 29th of November, Ivar van Dorst (Ekoto) and Arjen van Buuren (Landgoed Velhorst & De Zenderense Es) were invited Focus Group 'Crop associations including Milpa and protein crops' form the European Cap Network in in Vienna, Austria. The members of the Focus Group discussed the question: how to integrate crop combinations into existing cropping systems and farm landscapes to increase farm resilience and efficient use of natural resources while reducing the dependency on external inputs? The Focus Group consists of researchers and a few innovative farmers.

After the introduction of all members from various countries, Ivar presented a case study about his company Ekoto, which was well received by the audience.

After the lunch a lot of topics were discussed. They discussed:

  • Identifying existing or new plant combinations, adapted to each farming system within their landscapes and local/regional conditions;
  • The impact of the most promising crop combinations on the environment, on the farmers’ productivity, profitability, and resilience to climate change;
  • Success and fail factors and barriers for implementation and adaptation in different regions;
  • The role of innovation and knowledge exchange in addressing the challenges identified such as crop selection, crop rotation management, machinery, and product end use;
  • Potential innovative actions and ideas for Operational Groups to stimulate the use and improvement of crop combinations at farm level considering the impact on the landscape;
  • Needs from practice and possible gaps in knowledge related to crop associations which may be solved by further research.

The next day, the Focus Group was divided in four separate groups, each with a subject of interest. Our assignment was to write a mini paper about one of the five most important subjects chosen within the group of experts. Ivar is coordinating the value chain and demand group of crop combinations and Arjen is focusing on mechanisation in strip- and intercropping. In the coming years, each Focus Group will come together again and evaluate all the produced papers jointly.

Cropdiva symposium

Ghent, Belgium - 4-6 December 2023

Last week our PhD candidates Amandrie LouwAndi Dirham Nasruddin and Ana Ferreira Ernst visited the Cropdiva symposium in Belgium. The three of them presented their work in CropMix and discussed the complex interactions between weeds, crops, insects and biodiversity within agro-ecological systems.

They opened with the critical roles of both above-ground and below-ground interactions. These are fundamental to devising innovative mixed cropping systems. The symposium facilitated in-depth discussions on enhancing resource efficiency, controlling pests and weeds, and bolstering farm-level biodiversity through these systems.

Would you like to know more about their research? ⬇
Andi's research: Weerstand tegentegen herbivoren en plantpathogenen
Amandrie's research: Sustainable weed control strategies

Andi, Ana & Amandrie

CropMix is financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO)

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