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Legume-cereal intercropping for sustainable agriculture across Europe

Project Leader
Manschadi Ahmad M., BOKU Project Leader
Duration:
01.11.2022-31.10.2026
Programme:
Horizon Europe - Global Challenges - Research & Innovation Action (RIA)
EU-Project Instruments
Collaborative Project
Type of Research
Applied Research
Project partners
AARHUS UNIVERSITET, Denmark.
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
AGENCIA ESTATAL CONSEJO SUPERIOR DE INVESTIGACIONES CIENTIFICAS, Spain.
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
Agritec Plant Research s.r.o., Czech Republic.
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
Ain Shams University Cairo, Egypt.
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
CONFEDERAZIONE ITALIANA AGRICOLTORI TOSCANA, Italy.
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
DEUTSCHE SAATVEREDELUNG AG, Germany.
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
FARM EUROPE AISBL, Belgium.
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
GOTTFRIED WILHELM LEIBNIZ UNIVERSITAET HANNOVER, Germany.
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
Government College University Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
IFAU APS, Denmark.
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
INSTYTUT AGROFIZYKI POLSKIEJ AKADEMII NAUK, Poland.
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
Technische Universität Wien, Getreidemarkt 9/166, A-1060 Wien, Austria.
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
THE SOIL ASSOCIATION LIMITED, United Kingdom.
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
THE UNIVERSITY OF READING, United Kingdom.
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
UNION DE PEQUENOS AGRICULTORES Y GANADEROS, Spain.
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI FIRENZE, Italy.
Contact person: Shamina Imran Pathan;
Function of the Project Partner: Koordinator
Staff
BOKU Research Units
Institute of Agronomy
Funded by
Commission of the European Communities, Rue de la Loi, Brussels, European Union
Abstract
As conventional cropping systems face deterioration of soil quality, loss of biodiversity, and declining ecosystem services, there is an
urgent need to change practices to more sustainable yet productive systems. Intercropping enhances biodiversity, maximizes land
productivity, and optimizes biogeochemical cycles in agroecosystems, but is lacking acceptance from European farmers. Legumebased
intercropping takes advantage of biological diversity and synergistic effects between companion plants while reducing
external inputs. A major objective of LEGUMINOSE is to identify the obstacles to intercropping and enhance farmers’ acceptance by
providing knowledge and demonstrations that promote economic, environmental, and social benefits of legume-cereal intercropping. LEGUMINOSE will assess intercropping potential by focusing on pesticide reduction, plant-microbe mediated element cycling, soil health improvement, and crop quality and health. To overcome barriers to intercropping implementation, we will establish a network of six field trials and farm labs (20 farms in each country; 180 on farm trials) in different pedo-climatic zones across Europe (IT, DE, DR, ES, PL, CZ, UK), Egypt, and Pakistan. Furthermore, we will integrate remote sensing and crop modelling to survey fields, upscale the field-scale results, and create a web-based decision support system on intercropping. In collaboration with various stakeholders, legume-intercropping systems' economical, ecological, and social gains will be assessed and disseminated with international outreach from farm-level to policymakers. We will recognize and involve the whole value chain to explore and test innovative marketing strategies for the products of intercropping. LEGUMINOSE will contribute to the ecological intensification of European agriculture by providing science-based, farmer-led, and economically viable transformations for legume-based intercropping systems.
Keywords
Computer simulation; Cultivation of land; Grain cultivation ; Plant cultivation; Plant nutrition;
Biodiversity; Cereals; Crop modelling; Legumes; Intercropping;
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