Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) data allows identification of crop sequence patterns and diversity in organic and conventional farming systems.

Rafaelle Reumaux*, Pierre Chopin, Göran Bergkvist, Christine A. Watson, Ingrid Öborn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Farmers grow crops in specific sequences to lower disease pressure and boost crop productivity, particularly in organic farming where artificial pesticides and chemical fertilisers are prohibited. Knowledge about crop sequences used in organic and conventional farming will aid the development of future farming systems through optimising crop diversity and pre-crop effects for improved resource efficiency. This study aims to investigate crop diversity and patterns in organic and conventional crop sequences in Sweden. Large-scale LPIS field data managed by the European Union (EU) Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) were used to monitor crop sequences on arable land in Sweden over 10 consecutive years (2005–2014). Individual fields (land parcels) could be followed on 40% of Sweden's total arable area (349,891 fields extracted) over the 10 years. The LPIS data was combined with information from a database on which fields were farmed organically. Crop distribution, diversity of crop sequences and pre-crops to the main cereal crops (winter wheat, spring barley) were analysed in organic and conventional farming systems in the five agricultural productivity zones of Sweden. The results showed that in the most productive zone in southernmost Sweden, small-grain cereals (particularly winter wheat) were the most common crops (62%), followed by oilseeds (11%), ley and forage crops (9%) and sugar beet (8%), when excluding permanent grassland. In the least productive zone (at higher altitudes and/or latitudes), ley and forage crops dominated (67%), followed by spring cereals (barley, oats) (23%). Crop diversity was higher in the two more productive zones (mean 4.6 crop types) than in two less productive zones (3.4) and organic farms showed 9% higher crop diversity than conventional farms in the most productive zones. Overall, in all zones, the pre-crop to winter wheat was generally a different crop type (3 out of 5 times) e.g., young ley (1–2 years) or grain legume, while the pre-crop to spring barley was most often (4 out of 5 times) another cereal. For both these crops, pre-crop type was more diverse in organic than conventional systems. These findings demonstrate that LPIS data can offer valuable insights into agronomic trends and on-farm practices regarding crop choice and that analysis of field-level LPIS data on crop sequences at large scale can reveal information about organic and conventional cropping in different productivity zones across countries. This information can be used to understand the practical limitations in the use of crop diversity to maximise pre-crop effects. This could in turn support advisory service and policy makers to facilitate more sustainable, productive and resource efficient crop production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126916
JournalEuropean Journal of Agronomy
Volume149
Early online date22 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was part of the project ‘Constraints on the expansion of organic farming in Sweden’ led by Prof. Henrik G. Smith, Lund University. Funding from the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development Formas, contract 2018–02396, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences is gratefully acknowledged. We gratefully acknowledge the Swedish Board of Agriculture for providing the data.

Funding Information:
This work was part of the project ‘Constraints on the expansion of organic farming in Sweden’ led by Prof. Henrik G. Smith, Lund University. Funding from the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development Formas, contract 2018–02396, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences is gratefully acknowledged. We gratefully acknowledge the Swedish Board of Agriculture for providing the data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors

Keywords

  • Arable land-use
  • Crop diversity
  • Crop rotation
  • Organic farming

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