Project: Innovative cropping techniques to increase soil health in organic fruit tree crops

The BIO-INCROP project aims The project will search new agro-management techniques for organic orchards. Research activity is planned in two climate zones of the Europe: Temperate tree fruit production regions, with apple crop as target and Mediterranean ones, with citrus crop as target. The research strategy is based on microbial components involved in soil suppressiveness and biological soil fertility. The research actions are based on the exploitation of two categories of natural resources: - Biological resources indigenous to soil system - Natural resources exogenous to orchards Background The EU 27 trend of fruit production has decreased from 70 to 60 million tons during the period from 2000 to 2009. There are many causes of this yield decline, but the main reason is the decline of soil health due to the eco-functional intensification of growing areas specialising in fruit production. Replant disease, due to a series of soil borne pathogens, is the main biotic component of fruit tree decline. Microbial diversity, along with microbial biomass, represents the main component of soil suppressiveness: the natural ability of soil to control soil-borne pathogenic agents of replant disease. The expected benefits are: - New diagnostic tools for evaluating the actual occurrence of the biotic components of fruit tree replant disease. - An increased use of indigenous or external natural resources for developing innovative management options aimed at increasing and preserving soil microbial biomass and diversity in organic fruit tree orchards. - Integration of the national guidelines for certified organic production with agro-management strategies based on eco-functional intensification of organic cropping systems - Support for critical adoption by farmers of available organic amendments and bio-products and for developing practices aimed at increasing soil suppressiveness according to the available natural resources and environmental conditions. Therefore the first users of the project results will be organic growers and agricultural extension services. The project results will represent a support to Regional and National Committees in improving protocols and guidelines in organic farming. Finally, the BIO-INCROP objectives represent added value to the organic food production for European consumers, who are receptive to strategies aimed at increasing biodiversity and preserving environmental safety.

Duration 01/01/2012 - 31/12/2014
Website visit project website
Network CORE Organic II
Call First call of CORE Organic II

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural Economics Analysis - Agricultural Research Council Coordinator Italy
2 Laimburg Research Centre for Agriculture and Foresty Partner Italy
3 The Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research - Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil Research Station Partner Switzerland
4 Research Station Graz-Haidegg Partner Austria
5 Valencian Institute for Agricultural Research Partner Spain
6 University of Innsbruck Partner Austria
7 German Aerospace Center EV - Center of Competence Partner Germany
8 Egirdir Horticulture Research Institute & Alata Horticultural Research Institute Partner Turkey