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Simulating soil fertility management effects on crop yield and soil nitrogen dynamics in field trials under organic farming in Europe
- Doltra, J., Gallejones, P., Olesen, J.E., Hansen, S., Frøseth, R.B., Krauss, M., Stalenga, J., Jończyk, K., Martínez-Fernández, A., Pacini, G.C.
- Field crops research 2019 v.233 pp. 1-11
- climatic factors, conventional farming, cover crops, crop models, crop rotation, crop yield, field experimentation, grains, green manures, greenhouse gas emissions, model validation, nitrogen, nitrogen fixation, nitrous oxide, organic production, soil, soil fertility, soil minerals, tillage, uncertainty, weeds, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland
- Soil fertility building measures should be explored at the short and long-term for an adequate evaluation of their impact on sustaining yields and of its environmental consequences in crop rotations under organic farming. For such a purpose, process-based crop models are potential useful tools to complement and upscale field observations under a range of soil and climatic conditions. Organic rotations differ in soil fertility dynamics in comparison to conventional farming but very few modelling studies have explicitly considered this specific situation. Here, we evaluate the FASSET model to predict the effects of different fertility management options in organic crop rotations on dry matter (DM) and nitrogen (N) yield, and soil N dynamics, including N2O emissions. For that, we used data from seven short and long-term field experiments in different agro-climatic environments in Europe (Norway, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Italy and Spain) including climate, soil and management data. Soil fertility building measures covered fertilization type, green manures, cover crops, tillage, crop rotation composition and management (organic or conventional). Model performance was evaluated by comparing observed and simulated values of crop DM and N yield, soil mineral N and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions using five complementary statistical indices. The model closely reproduced most observed DM and N yield trends and effects of soil fertility building measures in arable crops, particularly in cereals. Contrary, yields of grass-clover, especially N, were generally reproduced with low degree of accuracy. Model performance for simulating soil mineral N depended on site and the availability of soil and management information. Although high uncertainty was associated to the simulation of soil N dynamics, differences of cumulative N2O emissions between fertility building measures were reflected in model outputs. Aspects for modelling improvement include cover crop growth and decomposition, biological N fixation (BNF) or weed and pest soil-crop interactions. It is concluded that FASSET can be successfully used to investigate the impact of fertilization type, green manures, tillage and management (organic or conventional) on crop productivity and to a certain extent on soil N dynamics including soil N2O emissions at different soils and climates in organic farming in Europe.