The web tool KnowSoil summarizes the expected effects of several soil management practices. The tool was developed in the framework of the European Catch-C project (FP7) and the PPS Sustainable soil and is available in seven languages. Wageningen UR is one of the partners in the project, which is coordinated by Hein ten Berge, researcher at Wageningen UR.
Catch-C aimed at identifying ‘Best Management Practices’ (BMPs) for promoting soil quality, crop productivity and climate change mitigation. Examples of practices are crop rotation, cultivation of catch and cover crops and green manures, incorporation of crop residues, no tillage, non-inversion tillage, and the application of organic manures (slurry, farmyard manure, compost). The outcomes presented in KnowSoil are based on a large dataset and associated literature on many multi-year field experiments from across Europe.
KnowSoil consists of two parts
In the first part (‘Evaluate a practice’), the impacts of BMPs on selected indicators are shown. Indicators include crop yield, soil quality properties (chemical, physical and biological), soil carbon accumulation, and greenhouse gas emissions. . The modulation by local factors (climate, soil texture, crop type, sampling depth and the duration of the practice) of the effects achieved by the practice are also shown, as far as such modulation could be assessed.
In the second part (‘Find a management practice to match your goals’) of KnowSoil, a ranking of BMPs is provided based on the desired effect(s) on soil quality, crop productivity and/or climate change mitigation. Each BMP is documented by a fact sheet that summarizes the main findings from the Catch-C study. Please note that reported outcomes are based on overall patterns based on the entire dataset. Effects of a practice in a particular setting will always be influenced, sometimes strongly, by local factors including crop type, cropping system, soil type, depth of tillageand applied machinery.