Project: Improving soil conservation and resource use in organic cropping systems for vegetable production through introduction and management of Agro-ecological Service Crops (ASC) - (SoilVeg)

Agro-ecological Service Crops (ASC) are introduced in the agro-ecosystems to provide or enhance ecological services, thus promoting the whole soil-plant system equilibrium. ASC introduction and proper management have impact on soil quality and fertility and soil nutrients losses. They also contribute to increase soil C sink potential, to mitigate GHG emissions and influence weeds, diseases and pests occurrence. To avoid competition with the subsequent cash crops, the growth of the interposed ASC is terminated in advance of the cash crop planting. The traditional, most widespread, technique used to terminate the ASC is incorporation as green manure into the soil by tillage. However, since tillage is an energy and labour consuming and soil disturbing operation, the use of no/reduced tillage techniques, as the rolling crimping technology that terminates by flattening the ASC, has received increasing interest. This research project aims at verifying the hypothesis that the use of the roller crimping technology for ASC termination will i) maintain yield of the cash crops and vegetable products quality, ii) reduce soil disturbance and enhance soil quality, improving internal system use of nutritive elements, iii) reduce fossil fuel energy consumption, iv) create a suppressive environment for pests, diseases and weeds. The project will also test the hypothesis that, compared with the incorporation of ASC into the soil as green manure, the use of the roller crimper reduces nutrient losses from the soil/plant system and GHG soil emission. The project also wants to verify if the introduction and the proper management of warm season ASC in the milder climatic areas (i.e. Southern Europe regions) could be a feasible option for resilient vegetable cropping system design and management. The main expected result is the optimisation and the spreading of novel ASC management strategies aimed to improve soil quality and to enhance resources use in organically managed systems for vegetable production. The Soilveg project will be organized in 7 work packages and it will last 36 months with the involvement of 14 partners from 9 different Core Organic Plus countries.

Acronym SoilVeg (Reference Number: 136)
Duration 02/02/2015 - 02/02/2018
Project Topic 1. Crop: Plant/Soil interaction in organic crop production
Website visit project website
Network CORE Organic Plus
Call Transnational Research in Organic Food and Farming Systems (2014)

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in Agricoltura Coordinator Italy
2 Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in Agricoltura Partner Italy
3 Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna Partner Italy
4 n/a Partner Estonia
5 Spanish National Research Council Partner Spain
6 University of Barcelona Partner Spain
7 Ghent University Partner Belgium
8 Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research Partner Belgium
9 n/a Partner Denmark
10 Groupe de Recherche en Agriculture Biologique Partner France
11 n/a Partner Belgium
12 n/a Partner Slovenia
13 inagro Partner Belgium
14 n/a Partner Latvia