Two new leaflets in the From Science to Field series from ENDURE’s winter crops based cropping systems case study (WCCS) are now available, detailing advanced and innovative systems for three regions of France and exploring a range of options for the UK.
Redesigning cropping systems in three French regions examines options in Poitou-Charentes, a region of intensive production of winter oilseed rape, winter wheat and winter barley, the Paris Basin, an area of intensive production of food and industrial crops such as sugarbeet, winter oilseed rape and wheat, and Burgundy, an area of intensive production of winter oilseed rape, wheat and barley, in addition to livestock farming.
For each region, researchers have designed new cropping systems. These are either advanced systems, which are based on current knowledge, or innovative systems, which are more experimental. In each case, the systems were designed starting from a system using no pesticides based on all possible non-chemical measures to control pests, such as crop sequence, sowing densities and dates. Then pesticides were added where necessary (when the no-pesticide system fails to control one pest).
Researchers have used the Treatment Frequency Index (TFI) to measure the implications of these redesigned systems; the data for the current systems is available thanks to France’s Ecophyto programme and they have used their expert knowledge to estimate the TFI of advanced and innovative systems. These estimates show that significant reductions in pesticide use could be obtained.
For example, they estimate that the current TFI for Poitou-Charente could be cut from a total of 5.8 to 2.2 by implementing their advanced system. Even more remarkable is the potential reduction in Burgundy where they estimate that the introduction of their innovative system could cut the current TFI of 7.1 to just 0.4, with the use of fungicides no longer necessary.
In Reducing pesticide inputs in winter cropping systems in the UK , researchers, advisers and farmers assessed changes to systems that are highly productive but reliant on intensive pesticide use. The ENDURE group explored the contribution that new pest management technologies and changes to cropping could make to reducing pesticide use. They considered both rotations using commonly grown crops, but with smaller proportions of winter cropping, and new technologies available now or likely to be available in the next 10 years.
They estimate that changed cropping alone could reduce annual pesticide use by 11-30% but would entail a trade-off in terms of productivity and profitability. In contrast, new and developing technologies could deliver pesticide use reductions of 20% currently and 30% in the next decade without any risks to profit or productivity.
These are the second and third leaflets from the winter crops based cropping systems case study. The team, like the maize based cropping systems case study, is taking advantage of the knowledge brought together in previous ENDURE activities and using it to tackle cropping systems rather than address a specific pest or crop.
The first WCCS leaflet, IPM in Danish winter crops based cropping systems , examined options for Denmark, where winter crops are the principal component of most arable crop rotations as they produce higher yields than spring grown crops. In particular, winter wheat, winter barley and winter oilseed rape are grown on Danish pig producing farms.
ENDURE’s Danish experts estimate that redesigned crop sequences accompanied by ready-to-use IPM practices could lower the TFI from the current level of 2.50 to between 1.68 and 1.78, depending on the crop sequence. Introducing future IPM measures could reduce this still further to between 1.57 and 1.65.
The authors suggest their proposals can serve as a starting point for economic anlayses of these redesigned systems. On-farm economics are, naturally, of great concern and these economic analyses will be particularly pertinent in Denmark, where pig producers will need to be satisfied that redesigned systems deliver sufficient supplies of quality forage grain.
Winter crops based cropping systems case study publications
|ENDURE Deliverable DR2.16: Designing innovative crop protection strategies in arable rotations (winter crops based cropping systems)||
ENDURE_DR2.16 [pdf - 124 MB]
|Number 1: IPM in Danish winter crops based cropping systems||
Winter Crops Based Cropping Systems Case Study Guide Number 1 [pdf - 38903 kB]
|Number 2: Redesigning cropping systems in three French regions||
Winter Crops Based Cropping Systems Case Study Guide Number 2 [pdf - 36697 kB]
|Number 3: Reducing pesticide inputs in winter cropping systems in the UK||
Winter Crops Based Cropping Systems Case Study Guide Number 3 [pdf - 63038 kB]