Leguminous living mulches have been shown to support a broad range of positive effects on biotic and abiotic indicators in broad-acre arable production, including soil health. With their nitrogen-fixing potential, they can also play a role in achieving sustainability goals and targets – for example, by naturally fixing nitrogen into the soil, they can help reduce dependence on artificial nitrogen fertiliser inputs, which in turn can reduce nitrous oxide emissions.
Challenges in managing leguminous living mulches like clover are the focus of this case study. After the second year, which was very different to the first, new insights are given by Stockbridge Technology Centre.
The soybean crop's high quantity and quality of proteins has led to growing global demand of soybeans for feed and food. Due to German consumer preferences, GM-free feed and organic soybean for human consumption are in high demand. Since cultivating GM-soybeans is not permitted in Europe, domestic production is a safe solution. So how can we better understand and identify agronomic factors for successful soybean cultivation to stabilize, optimize and expand soybean cultivation in Europe?
The renaissance of the lentil cultivation on the Swabian Alb might be a trend-setting success story and there is still a lot to investigate. Can a story like this happen again with other legumes, or in other European partner countries? The case study reveals and identifies agronomic factors for successful lentil growing which can help to stabilize, optimize and expand lentil cultivation in Europe.
The use of legumes and leguminous by-products within dairy systems is compared at Crichton Royal Farm: Home-grown feed, which is not purchased except minarals against fully purchased feedstuff - contrasing technical performance as well as GHG emissions and nutrient use efficiencies are expected to arise from the diets, genotypes and housing systems containing leguminous co-products or legumes grown in the UK.
We investigate a range of innovative ways of using legumes to build soil fertility in glasshouses and polytunnels like using fast growing species of green manures that can be sown directly in the soil. We will evaluate the potential of a number of legume species.
In this case study we will set up field trials of Fava beans and French beans to assess the agronomic performance of heritage varieties in comparison to modern ones. The nutritional quality of the crops will be analysed. During the flowering period we will quantify visitation of the different varieties by pollinating insects and relate this to the production of floral volatile chemicals that may be responsible for attracting them and the quality of the resources that are provided in return.
The STC Case Study within TRUE will be looking at ways in which in-crop clover living mulches can be managed during crop growing seasons, with a particular attention to overcoming weed risks, enhancing soil organic matter / nitrogen content and generally improving the sustainability of cropping systems.