Closing the yield gap in organic cereal production: yield and yield components on an innovative farm in the Netherlands

Supervisors

Walter Rossing (FSE Wageningen UR)
Gerard Oomen (FSE Wageningen UR)

Introduction

Farmers are used to experimenting. They do so year-in year-out. Sometimes, novelties they invent or discover do not only help to make their own farming practice more effective but may have a broader impact. One such invention is a cropping system for baking quality winter wheat which was developed by farmers in the Netherlands and which achieved up to 9 tons of wheat per ha, 30-50% more than under average organic conditions.

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In this project you will do a comparative analysis of different wheat cropping systems focusing on the period from emergence to booting, as this seems to be the critical period. The cropping systems are located in farmers’ fields. On the innovator-farm an experiment with different treatments will be part of the project. The project duration would need to match the critical phase of the growing season (March – June or later).

Objectives

To analyze the contribution of different elements of the innovative wheat cropping system for yield and yield components using experimentation and modeling.

Procedures

  • Carry out observations in the field
  • Analyze field data statistically and by using a dynamic model (NDICEA)
  • Manage and process large datasets

Experiences gained

  • Preparation of a detailed proposa
  • Learning how to work with NDICEA
  • Conducting field observations
  • Interpretation of statistical and modeling results
  • Writing an MSc thesis (and preferably a manuscript for a journal) in English