Study Site Trials

The SICS selected for trialling in this Study Site are described below:

General Treatment Category Study Site Trials
Crop rotations, tillage, fertilization 1. CROPSYS crop rotations, organic and conventional/row cropping with catch crops -Rotation (O2,O4,C4),O2 organic (S. barley: ley, Grass‑clover, spring wheat, spring oats), O4 organic (S. barley, Faba bean, Spring wheat, Spring oats), C4 conventional (S. barley, Faba bean, Spring wheat, Spring oats). +/- catch crop, +/- manure

Study Site poster 2018 (download)


SICS1:- Crop rotations, organic and conventional row cropping with cover crops 


   CROPSYS Denmark exp factsheet final front cover


 Key findings

  • Small differences in soil physical properties and soil organic carbon were observed between treatments. This could be explained by the high initial quality of the soil and because no “extreme” treatments were included in the study.
  • However, use of cover crops and animal manure affected the availability of nutrients in the soil at time of sampling, due to both short and long-term processes (e.g., temporary immobilization of P in cover crop biomass and depletion of P in organic treatments without animal manure).
  • Compared to the control (conventional without cover crops), organic treatments had lower yields, but the yield gap was alleviated by the use of cover crops and animal manure.
  • The inclusion of one year of legume-based ley in the rotation (O2) had a positive effect on earthworm abundance, which was particularly high in treatments with cover crops. This points to a joint effect of good quality litter availability and reduced soil disturbance by cultivation.


Geographical description

The Danish site is centered in the Municipality of Viborg, and the Region of Central Denmark where the main Agricultural Research Centre and the Aarhus University, Department of Agroecology is also situated. The sites draw on extensive long-term data from the field stations (see below), and nearby agricultural landscape study sites, from where data collection has been coordinated in the NitroEurope EU integrated project (2007-2011), the MEA_scope EU strategic research project (2004-2007) etc. and series of other research projects (1994-present).

The Danish site represents the most agriculture and livestock intensive western parts of Denmark, with extensive data available for upscaling and generalization. The area is dominated by loamy moraines (about 40-70 m above sea level), with agriculture and rotation cropping systems as the dominating land use. The climate is temporal coastal with significant surplus rainfall, especially outside the main growing season. Moreover, for the studies, we will include our very near collaboration with the Danish Farmers extension services ( and the strong local farmers' associations.

Pedo-climatic zone
Dominated by sandy-loamy soils, with some peat soils. Situated on the border between the atlantic and the continental biogeographical region, Atlantic North climate. Some sandy soils are irrigated, and we have data on both irrigated and non-irrigated conditions.