The overall aim of this work package is to assess the biological sustainability and impact on the environment of the novel cropping systems under a range of agro and pedo-climatic zones. The specific objectives ar
To provide a robust set of models of the key production and environmental indicators for the novel cropping systems across the agricultural and pedo-climatic zones in Europe.
To develop a model of the energy and nutrient flows (LCA) of the supply chain to the farm-gate of the novel cropping systems for a range of management scenarios.
To provide robust biological data for the socio-economic assessment in WP4.
To upscale the nitrogen balances for the novel cropping systems to an EU basis.
To upscale the emissions for the novel cropping systems to an EU basis.
This work package will use existing experimental data and data collected within WP1 to test and improve the models. The models will then be used to understand, assess and extrapolate the biological and environmental implications of novel legume-based cropping and management systems across Europe. The outputs from this work package will also be used to inform WP2 and the biological parameters used in WP4.
Assessment of biophysical models
Data from existing experiments collected in WP1 and WP2 will be used in existing biophysical models (DNDC, FASSET). These are dynamic and deterministic models that describe the soil carbon and nitrogen processes and crop growth. The models will therefore be used to simulate carbon and nitrogen flows of legume-supported systems across the agro-environmental zones in Europe. Special emphasis will be given to testing the ability of DNDC to simulate biological nitrogen fixation, mineralisation of crop residues, nitrate leaching, nitrous oxide emissions, soil respiration and changes in soil carbon storage. FASSET will be applied to simulate the residual effects of legume catch crops on the subsequent crops in rotation. These tests will identify areas where the models need adjustments before being applied for evaluation of novel cropping systems.
Improvements to models
Improvements will be made to FASSET in order to better describe the n dynamics associated with the incorporation of legume catch crops. This will be achieved by modifying the code so that more options that describe the heterogeneity of the material incorporated can be described.
Energy and nutrient flow model
An energy and nutrient flow model (LCA) will be used to assess the multiple forms of energy and nutrients that are used in novel cropping systems. Ecological, economic and social aspects of the farming system will be included in the analysis, and are compared on the basis of a common currency.
Evaluation of novel cropping systems
The new experimental data collected from WP1 and WP3 will be used to validate the biophysical models against carbon and nitrogen flows; including yield, gaseous emissions, N leaching. In addition, the data from the experiments will be used to make an assessment of the total energy flows of the novel cropping systems.
Quantification of N and C flows
The biophysical models will be used to estimate the carbon, nitrogen and energy flows, and hence a nitrogen and energy budgets for a range of leguminous crops and for the management scenarios and rotation designs that have been developed in WP2 and WP4 across the ago-environmental zones. The predictions of production, externalities and energy will be used to inform the socio-economic analysis that is being conducted in WP4.
The nitrogen balance at European scale
Based on the OECD methodology, the change in the nitrogen balance resulting from the adoption of the novel cropping systems on a European basis will be determined.
Estimates of greenhouse gas emissions at European scale
In order to scale-up from the field scale emissions factors to a European basis, IPCC methodology will be used. The emissions factors in the IPCC methodology will be corrected for the novel legume systems from data that has been collected within the experiments in WP1 and WP3 and the model scenarios runs.
The tasks are led by Kairsty Topp at the SAC (UK) and Jorgen Olesen at Aarhus University (Denmark)