Regenerative practices in Organic Farming / ÖMKi - Arable cropping Seminar
Another successful event was organised at the Eco Expo as part of the EIT Food supported Regenerative Agriculture Revolution programme.
As the first item of the seminar programme, Knut Schmidtke (Professor at the University of Dresden) gave a soil profile demonstration at the Verestenger Farm, the event's field venue, where he spoke about the beneficial role of alfalfa as a forage crop, particularly the importance of the furrows formed by its deep root system. He also touched on the recognition of the plow pan phenomenon and explained the technology and machinery requirements for the termintion of forage legumes as cover crops with shallow tillage (cutting the whole surface with goose-foot cultivator).
The programme continued at the Kendereskert House, where a lecture was held by Katalin Allacherné Szépkuthy (MSc), senior advisor and Judit Berényi Üveges (PhD), senior researcher, on "The principles and the Hungarian situation of regenerative agriculture, training and extension programme supported by EIT Food, implemented in cooperation between MAHE (Hungarian Agroecology Network Association) and ÖMKi". In the presentation, the following principles of regenerative gariculture were highlighted: the reduction of tillage, covering soil surface as long as possible, the role of living roots in the soil, the diversity of natural habitats in agricultural areas, the minimisation of inputs, the integration of livestock production into farming and farm management in line with local environmental conditions. In the second part of the presentation, Katalin Allacherné Szépkuthy outlined the idea of a local regenerative organic farming as an advanced certification system (similar to the US Regenerative Organic Certification scheme) that is particularly useful for preserving soil health.
The programme continued with a presentation by Prof. Knut Schmidtke, where he presented concrete examples and comprehensive research results on how the principles of regenerative agriculture can be implemented in organic farming. The presentation of the results of the research by Cooper and co-authors (2016), which summarises thousands of soil tillage experiments, was very enlightening. The research showed that in organic farming, all reduced tillage strategies result in more or less yield loss compared to deep ploughing, mainly due to increased weed pressure. No-till is the most unfavourable strategy in this respect. Shallow tillage without rotation (<10 cm) turned out as the most favourable one.
We also learned about the critical technological elements in the use of non-legume cover crops, before growing pulses. It became apparent that the cultivation of pulses (e.g. peas, soybean) offers the possibility to reduce tillage intensity or even to use no-tillage in organic farming. Finally, an example of a crop rotation using cover crops and intercropping to ensure soil cover and the presence of living plant roots in the soil almost 365 days a year was presented.
At the end of the seminar, Éva Borbélyné Hunyadi (PhD), Head of ÖMKi’s Arable cropping research group presented the latest results of the ÖMKi-VSZT-NÉBIH national organic cereal variety tests for 2023.
Regenerative practices in Organic Farming / ÖMKi - Arable cropping Seminar was organized as part of the Regenerative Agriculture Revolution programme funded by the European Commission and supported by EIT Food.