Due to various beneficial properties e.g. related to soil fertility and crop health and, in horticulture, promotion of on-farm pollination, living mulches represent a potentially ‘multifunctional’ solution, both for future arable production and for the environment. Despite their benefits, to date commercial uptake of living mulches in UK/European arable farming has been limited by production conflicts and practical difficulties in the management of ‘polycultural’ systems. Using commercially available machinery and precision agricultural technologies (PAT), however, affords an innovative opportunity to overcome the restrictions that have prevented commercial uptake of living mulches to date; the current Case Study aims to make use of these innovations to demonstrate that living mulches are compatible with, and both profitable and beneficial for, modern yield-driven arable production. Of particular importance to demonstrating compatibility of living mulches to modern arable production is state of the art strip-tillage machinery, allowing crops to be sown into cultivated bands in a single pass.
Type of legumes: Clover, Lucerne
Type of farming system: Arable, conventional, organic
Case Study Leader: Stockbridge Technology Centre Research Foundation (STC), UK
Contact person: Jen Banfield-Zanin & David Georg, Stockbridge Technology Centre, Cawood, Selby, North Yorkshire, YO8 3TZ
TRansition paths to sUstainable legume-based systems in Europe (TRUE) has received funding from the
European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 727973