A new CORE Organic Plus project with 20 partners from 13 countries, coordinated by the Research Institute of Organic Agiculture (FiBL) Switzerland, has been launched.

The FertilCrop team at the first meeting in Frick, Switzerland:
Front l-r: Roc Mihelic (University of Ljubljana, UL, Slovenia), Anamarija Slabe (Institute for Sustainable Development, ISD, Slovenia), Metka Suhadolc, UL, Slovenia) Izik Öztürk (Aarhus University, AU, Denmark), Ron de Goede (Wageningen University and Research Centre, WUR, Netherlands), Jørgen Olesen (AU, Denmark), Randi Frøseth (Bioforsk, Norway), Sissel Hansen (Bioforsk, Norway), Maike Krauss (FiBL, Switzerland) Paolo Bàrberi (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, SSSA, Italy), Andreas Fliessbach (FiBL, Switzerland), Daniele Antichi (Centro di Ricerche Agro-Ambientali, CIRAA, Italy), Michael Schloter (Helmholtz Zentrum München, HMGU, Germany), Giao Cesare Pacini (DISPAA, Italy), Ulla Bertelsen (International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems, ICROFS, Denmark), Zydre Kadziuliene (Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, LRCAF, Lithuania), Paul Mäder (FiBL, Switzerland), Joséphine Peigné (ISARA, France), Raphaël Metral (Institut National de Recherche Agronomique, INRA, France. Back l-r: Helga Willer (FiBL, Switzerland) Jordi Doltra (Cantabrian Agricultural Research and Training Centre, CIFA, Spain), F. Xavier Sans-Serra (University of Barcelona, UB, Spain) José Manuel Blanco (UB, Spain), Stefano Carlesi (SSSA, Italy), Anne Luik (Estonian University of Life Sciences, EULS, Estonia) Liina Talgre (EULS, Estonia), Jarosław Stałenga (Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, IUNG, Poland), Ton Baars (Fundacja im. Stanisława Karlowskiego (FSK), Poland), Florian Celette (ISARA, France), Christian Gary (INRA, France)


Organic agriculture builds on fertile soils and needs farming systems that make best use of the available natural resources. Soil fertility in arable farming systems has to be managed in order not to be lost. Organic inputs to feed the soil are an important measure to increase soil fertility, but also reduced soil tillage and improved crop rotation including green manures and cover crops are helping to build fertility. A fertile soil is indicated by a good soil structure, high biological activity and plant nutrients available at the time of crop demand. 

FertilCrop is a network of scientists working in the areas of crop and weed science, soil sciences (soil physics, chemistry and biology), modelling and farm prototyping. Interactions of crops with weeds, soil macro- and micro-biota are a major focus of this project that builds on a large number of field trials (Figure 2, map). Another focus is to gather information on nutrient dynamics in soils and if or how they can be modelled in order to be predictable. FertilCrop will add to the existing knowledge by testing effects of reduced soil tillage in combination with other management options to build soil fertility and verify the clear distinction of their suitability along climatic gradients across Europe. 

FertilCrop Fieldtrialmap

Distribution of field trials available for research within FertilCrop

Soil samples and continuous data sets from long-term experiments run by the team members in the various participating countries will allow for in-depth studies of soil fertility indicators and soil nitrogen dynamics as well as modelling.

FertilCrop will explicitly include combinations of management options that build a fertile soil. In close collaboration with farmers a particular emphasis is paid to using, testing and also developing tools that help to recognize and evaluate a fertile soil. 

For more information about this project, please visit FertilCrops.net or Tilman-org.net


      Project coordinator:
      Andreas Fliessbach
      Soil Sciences Department
      FiBL, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Switzerland
      website: www.fibl.org,
      mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


 Article published 4th of March 2015