Enhancing the economic value of organically produced cash crops by optimizing the management of soil fertility


  • Bavarian State Research Center for Agriculture (LfL)
  • Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute (vTI)
  • Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FIBL)
  • University of Applied Sciences Dresden (HTW)
  • Foundation Ecology and Agriculture (SÖL)
  • Naturland e.V.
  • Department Ecological Plant Protection
  • Department Agricultural Engineering
  • Department Farm Management
  • Department Soil Biology & Plant Nutrition



BMVEL, Bundesprogramm Ökologischer Landbau (BÖLN FKZ: 08OE008)


01. October 2008 - 30. June 2013

The number of organic farms with low livestock units is increasing. Thus, farms are often lacking powerful grass-clover fields, manure or composts as organic fertilisers to sustain or increase soil fertility. Grain legumes are therefore intensively used for both cash crop and an important part in the crop rotation for the N-fixation. However, it became obvious, that yields are decreasing and subsequently the succeeding crop is weakened. The aim of the interdisciplinary research project is to develop measures to sustain soil fertility, for a more improved utilisation of the yield potential of different sites and to increase the added value for organic farms. The project is addressing a practise related approach and is focussing on low livestock or stockless organic arable farms. In particular the potential of legumes in pure and mixed stands will be determined to increase soil fertility. Soil chemical and physical as well as phytosanitary aspects will get specific attention. In addition yield limiting factors and its control at the respective sites on the farms will be determined. All measures of soil fertility management developed and validated during the project will be analysed for both the economic and technical impacts. For this purpose a knowledge exchange between science and practice is essential.

Our group particularly is involved in the quantification of the nutrient effects of secondary organic fertilisers, the development of a strip application technique of composts in the seed row, the quantification of suppressive effects of composts to control root rot pathogens of grain legumes the effects of carbon rich organic fertilisers in mixed stands of grain legumes and cereals.

Participants at FOEL

  • Christian Bruns
  • Dagmar Werren
  • Jürgen Heß


  • Lux, G., Schmidtke, K. und Bruns, C. (2011): Bodenleben auf Trab bringen. Bioland 2/2011
  • Bruns, C., Finckh, M.R., Hensel, O., Lux, G. und Schmidtke, K. (2011) Komposte halten Leguminosen gesund. Bioland 6/2011.