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Long-term rotation trial examines the best crop combinations for yield stability and crop health

Crop rotation trial will run for 12 years to test different crop combinations – up to five commonly grown crops will be included in the rotations – 68 trials plots on an area of 15 hectares allocated to the project at the DLG International Crop Production Center

FRANKFURT/MAIN, Germany, July 13, 2016 – A long-term crop rotation trial at the DLG International Crop Production Centre (IPZ) in Bernburg-Strenzfeld, Germany, is looking promising for farmers in terms of improved yield stability, crop health and soil fertility. Different combinations of maize, wheat, triticale, durum wheat, peas, oilseed rape and sugar beet, will be cultivated in rotation for a period of at least 12 years, making the trial one of the most comprehensive to be conducted.
“These crop rotation trials are some of only a few in Germany to provide data in this spatial dimension and long period of time,” the Head of the IPZ, Dr. Klaus Erdle, said. “It’s important to allocate a lot of time to a project like this because of the complex mechanisms within the soil and crop system. We are looking at the interplay between different crops and the effect that has on yields, crop health and even soil fertility.”
The trial, which was set up three years ago, aims to provide clarification on four key questions:
  • Which crop rotation will achieve the highest financial margin at the IPZ site, while maintaining the soil humus balance?
  • Which crop rotation will produce the most stable earnings level at the site, by providing a low-risk approach with minimal fluctuations?
  • How do the crop rotations compare with regard to stability of yield and the quality of wheat produced? And
  • How sugar beet and oilseed rape performance compares in different crop rotations, particularly where they are both included in the same rotation and where they appear separately.
The first trends to be identified from the crop rotation trial results are expected at the end of 2017, when data from most of the crop combinations will have been collected and analyzed. However, longer-term results will be needed to accurately reflect the changing effects of weather, incidence of diseases, or changes in the soil from year to year. Various wheat varieties will also be tested to find out which fit best into a specific rotation.
The IPZ was set up to carry out research that would provide new and practical information for crop farmers, and the crop rotation trial was initiated by DLG’s (German Agricultural Society) farming expert committees that identified a need to learn more about the long-term implications of different rotations.
And the IPZ site is ideal for this kind of work, located in the rain shadow of the Harz region, it has an annual rainfall of 511 mm and 80-90 cm of good-quality black topsoil. The center supports the DLG’s goal, in place since the organization started in 1885, which is to share practical international agricultural knowledge in order to optimize and improve farming methods.
The DLG, which has 27,000 farming members, supports 80 working committees that are made up of members and companies, and are dedicated to specific topics. About 20 of these committees, which deal with subjects such as precision farming, crop nutrition and crop protection, are connected to the work carried out at the IPZ.
About DLG
DLG, the German Agricultural Society, is a not-for-profit organisation based in Frankfurt, Germany. One of its key objectives is to promote international agricultural knowledge across countries and the society organises a range of agricultural exhibitions throughout the world including Agritechnica, the largest agricultural exhibition of agri-machinery, and EuroTier, the leading exhibition in the world for livestock technology. A world-renowned and largest independent test centre also forms an important part of the DLG’s activities as well as a agriculture competence centre staffed by full-time experts. With subsidiaries in several agricultural countries, DLG has a large network of international farming experts. www.dlg.org
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Malene Conlong
Tel: +49 69 24788237
Email: m.conlong@dlg.org


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Friedrich W. Rach

Press Officer Agriculture and Exhibitions

Malene Conlong

International media and communications manager