Row-based cultivation focusing particularly on biodiversity
In collaboration with AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG and Schmotzer Hacktechnik, AMAZONE will start new long-term field trials in 2020.
Entitled “Controlled Row Farming” (CRF), a completely new arable farming system, will be introduced, in which each crop cultivation measure takes place in relation to a fixed row.
The vision of the CRF agro-ecological farming system consists of a needs-based use of resources to generate reasonable yields and profits together with a maximum contribution to biodiversity.
The aim is to actively promote biodiversity and, at the same time, achieve sustainable agricultural returns. Both goals should not only be met but ideally also support one another.
All crops are grown at a row spacing of 50 cm in the CRF concept, except for cereals which are sown in double rows. Depending on the crop rotation, the row can be offset by 25 cm, in order, for example, to make use of the agronomical effect of the preceding undersown crop. Sowing is normally carried out in combination with row-oriented fertilisation. Plant protection products are usually applied specifically to each row using a band application technique on the row and Dropleg systems at later growth stages. Each pass is always carried out with high-precision track guidance via RTK-GPS and camera control.
Hoes are used for mechanical weed control in combination with row-specific plant protection, targeted fertiliser application and sowing of companion plants between the rows. Without direct contact with fertiliser and plant protection agents, these companion plants make a positive contribution to the phytosanitary support of the main crop as well as soil fertility and biodiversity. Depending on the crop and weather conditions, these companion plants are managed actively to ensure the crop is harvested.
Two different intensities will be compared in the CRF trials: One variant will place the emphasis on maximum yield with limited competition from companion plants. The second variant will focus on biodiversity with reduced intensity of fertiliser and plant protection measures. The two CRF variants will be compared with two levels of intensity in normal soil management.
The 10 ha trial site is at Amazone’s Wambergen trials centre which is located in the direct vicinity of the main Amazone factory in Hasbergen-Gaste.