•Evaluating the use of cover crops and less intensive cultivation methods
•Undertaking studies at a range of scales
•Assessing both physical and biological (including earthworms) soil properties, crop performance, system economics and potential environmental impacts
With three large plots, using farm-scale equipment and techniques:
IFM system A: Deep (20cm) non-inversion cultivation with over-winter cover crops plus other modified management practices as necessary
IFM system B: Low intensity (<10 cm) soil disturbance with over-winter cover crops plus other modified management practices as necessary
Conventional (C): ‘Farm standard’ cultivation (typically plough-based) and management practices, with no cover crops
This is a fully replicated design undertaken on large plots, using farm scale equipment and techniques.
Cover crops were sown in early September 2015, and areas include:
•Legumes e.g. clover and vetch
•Grasses e.g. black oats
•Brassicas e.g. radishes
•Other commercial mixes
Different cultivation techniques will be applied in selected areas. Over-winter and following crop field assessments have been taken.