DIVERSify Intercropping Group

This group is interested in the opportunities for intercropping to provide more efficient resource use, reduced pest and disease pressure and better weed competition.

The group will explore opportunities for intercropping and companion cropping in arable systems, including;

- Sharing experiences between farmers of different plant teams.
- Identifying beneficial combinations and their impact on key indicators identified by farmers e.g – yield, soil and plant health, weed burden and pest / disease – in different contexts.
- Practical considerations / overcoming challenges– including crop competition, establishment, machinery, harvest, separation and finding markets.

Group Topic

Using diverse species mixes

This challenge focusses on the potential of using diverse species mixes for leys or crops, for wide ranging benefits, such as fertility building, weed competition, environmental resilience, improving habitat for pollinators and livestock nutrition. Topic image (c) ORC


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  • Upcoming Meetups
  • Past Meetups

    Feedback from the field -

    Agenda:

    • Feedback from the field 2017/18 – presentations from triallists and of ongoing research within the DIVERSify project
    • Discussion of overcoming challenges to intercropping and identifying plant teams for the future
    • Beginning to plan for the 2018/19 field season and the integration of trials across the network

    The Organic Research Centre

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    Attended

    Second topic meeting -

    Potential methodologies were then discussed where the group identified the following outcome measurements:

    - Yield (quadrat cuts, total yield, registered biomass),
    - Weed pressure (plant counts, quadrat),
    - Insect pressure (visual assessment),
    - General observations (visual assessment),
    - Nutrients (tissue test and soil testing over time) and
    - Economics (cost- inputs and outputs).

    These traits were considered alongside protocols that are being developed as part of the DIVERSify project.

    Elm Farm

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    Attended

    Spring meeting -

    We will start the day at 10 am and Andy will show us around including the cross-slot drill, and intercrop separator. There will hopefully be bean/OSR intercrop, spring oats undersown with clover and linseed/lentils to see in the field. We will discuss the group trials and potential ‘working groups’ that are coming out of the crop combos being tested, and have lunch in a local pub. A more detail agenda will be available nearer the date.

    Oaklands Farm

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    Attended

    Initial meeting -

    Initial meeting with UK partners of the DIVERSify project to formulate the intercropping trial approach and workshop meetings.

    The Organic Research Centre

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    Attended

    Intercropping workshop -

    Workshop to identify the motivations, success and failures of intercropping as well as the barrier they have faced.

    Stockbridge Technology Centre

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    Attended

    Organic cereal production -

    Part of the Organic Research Centre’s Winter Cereals event. The morning session focussed on intercropping and a workshop was held in line with that held by LEAF at Overbury village hall and Stockbridge Technology Centre. We worked to identify participants’ past and present experiences and changes that they felt may encourage the uptake of the practice, along with research priorities to support this. (There are photos and a brief description also under the ‘Discussion’ tab).

    Rushall Organics

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    Attended

    Intercropping workshop -

    Workshop to identify the motivations, success and failures of intercropping as well as the barrier they have faced.

    Overbury Estates

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    Attended

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