Soil biology as basic element for resilient cropping systems and C-sequestration

Soil biology reflects the chemical and physical composition of the soil and its management, and is a determining factor in the functioning of the soil and crop production. Soil life is seen as an increasingly important factor, but the tools for targeted control to enhance soil functions are lacking. For the development of circular and climate-neutral primary production systems, more insight into the soil biological processes that convert organic materials in the soil into plant-available nutrients or stable carbon compounds is necessary.

This project focuses on the development of more resilient plant production systems by increasing the organic matter quantity and quality in the soil, and aims to gain more knowledge about the associated biological processes. Soil biological processes determine the conversion of the organic materials in soil, and are therefore crucial both for healthy crop growth and for the formation of stable carbon compounds in the soil. Various soil biological parameters and their relationship with crop and soil parameters will be determined. For increasing the organic matter, different types of animal manure and organic residual flows will be used, also in the context of circularity. Other measures to increase the organic matter in the soil, such as reduced tillage and use of green manures, will be evaluated using existing long-term experiments.