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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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ReMIX H2020 - Intercrops

Species mixtures management for farmers

By WP6 team: Maria Finckh (mfinckh@uni-kassel.de); Johannes Timaeus (johannes.timaeus@uni-kassel.de); Jörg-Peter Baresel (baresel@wzw.tum.de); Christine Watson (Christine.Watson@sruc.ac.uk); Kairsty Topp (Kairsty.topp@sruc.ac.uk); Safia Mediene (safia.mediene@inra.fr); Guillaume Martin (Guillaume.Martin@inra.fr); Marion Casagrande (marion.casagrande@itab.asso.fr); Laurent Bedoussac (laurent.bedoussac@inra.fr ; Muriel Valantin-Morison (muriel.morison@inra.fr); Laurence Fontaine (laurence.fontaine@itab.asso.fr).

Objectives

The development of tools suited for a variety of end users and cropping systems, adapted to local conditions and available in local languages is key to foster the uptake of intercropping practices. WP6 will integrate existing published and unpublished data as well as practical information generated by the experimental teams in WP1-WP5 in order to develop optimised management principles accounting for many different aspects of mixed crop production.

 WP6 will work on:

i) The assessment of the impacts of crop and soil management on the production and environmental impact of species mixtures in order to identify the best management practices for locally adapted species mixtures,

ii) The development of optimised species mixture management guidelines, a web portal and app driven ReMIX Toolbox, including a tool for choosing species combinations and management options (Species Mixtures Management tool), a tool for assessing ecosystem services provided by species mixtures (ReMIX Ecosystem Services tool) and an educational decision-support serious game for supporting farmers-advisors in designing species mixtures and management practices(ReMIX Serious Game),

iii) The development of optimised machinery settings for efficient harvest and separation of mature grains in species mixtures.

The ReMIX Toolbox

The practical management guidelines developed in WP6 will be available through the ReMIX Toolbox, a new web portal that is being built upon the existing OSCAR Toolbox. The ReMIX Toolbox has been implemented using the MediaWiki software, allowing for continuous update and long-term support through extensions by the users.

The ReMIX Toolbox web portal will be the entry point to the ReMIX Species Mixtures tool on subsidiary crops and species mixtures, comprising all aspects of diversification in agriculture: (a) improvement of soil biodiversity by applying minimum tillage techniques; (b) improvement of interspecific crop diversity by mixed cropping and applying subsidiary crops, i. e. cover crops and living mulches; and (c) the use of variety mixtures and populations to improve intraspecific crop diversity. The Species Mixtures tool will allow users to choose species combinations and management options (including equipment use and socio-economic settings) needed to achieve the desired outcomes across different pedoclimatic conditions.

The ReMIX Toolbox web portal will also host the ReMIX Ecosystem Services tool, which will help to choose an intercrop considering the desired ecosystem services under given agro-environmental conditions. The Ecosystem Services tool will be based on the CAPS tool, which will be adapted to grain cereal – grain/forage legume intercrops, thanks to the information and empirical knowledge collected through interviews with farmers at the MAPs and the close collaboration with WP2-WP5.

 

The ReMIX Serious Game

The ReMIX Serious Game is being developed on the basis of inputs from the project’s MAPs. Meetings with scientists (especially those leading MAPs) and experts on intercropping have allowed gathering information for sketching a conceptual model of a cropping system based on species mixtures. This conceptual model relates grain yield and quality to a range of explanatory variables representing climate conditions, crop species, cultivars, tillage and crop management. The conceptual model will be refined during the coming year according to the outcomes of the MAPs in order for the Serious Game to focus on specific issues raised by farmers. The model will serve as a basis for the Bayesian model integrated in the Serious Game, which will combine expert knowledge from farmers and consultants with scientific outputs of the projects such as meta-analysis of published data, field experimentations and simulations. The Serious Game will be tested on the MAP workshops (In France and Scotland, possibly in Germany and Denmark as well) held during the last part of the project involving satellite farmers, connected additional farmers and focus groups.

WP6_pic1

Picture: WP6 partners playing the INRA developed Rummy Forage Serious Game in Paris in October 2017

Machinery for harvesting and separating grains of species mixtures

The coming season will witness the field testing of existing harvesting and grain separation machinery in South West France (Toulouse). Three different intercrops will be tested on a 2-5 ha field over a 2 week window in late June 2019. The settings specified in the AGCO Operators Manual for the cereal crop will be used, moving afterwards towards the legume settings until a good balance of harvesting the two crops is reached.

Follow our news section and Facebook and Twitter accounts for fresh news on the harvesting and separation trials!!

 

Optimised management techniques for species mixtures

A lot of published and unpublished data exists which could be useful in understanding the influences of different management strategies (e.g. fertilisation, irrigation, planting pattern) on intercrops performance. WP6 partners have started reviewing the scientific literature, but also the grey literature, unpublished data held by partners and experimental data in WP1-WP5 in order to identify relevant experimental data on arable intercrops where management factors have been investigated. The initial focus will be on barley-pea intercrops but other intercrops will also be investigated. Information gathered in this task will be very useful to integrate in ecosystem services tool, after we focused on services, functions and traits relevant for the tool.

All type of information will be useful, therefore we issue an:

OPEN CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS:

If you have experience with intercrops and you want to share it with ReMIX scientists, please, contact Christine Watson: Christine.Watson@sruc.ac.uk.

HAVE YOUR SAY IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PRACTICAL TOOLS FOR SPREADING THE USE OF SPECIES MIXTURES IN EUROPEAN AGRICULTURE!!