Strip planting for vegetable production

EIP project BioStripPlant introduces its work

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Strip-Till Machine. Photo: agrathaer GmbH/K. Funk
Strip-Till Machine. Photo: agrathaer GmbH/K. Funk

On 07.09.2023, the field day of the EIP project "BioStripPlant" took place at the Watzkendorf organic horticultural farm in Blankensee in Brandenburg, Germany. The project focuses on evaluationg the strip tillage technique in organic vegetable production with regard to improved climate adaptation and resilience. At the event, interested parties had the opportunity to exchange information about the "strip-till" method and the required equipment.

During the field day in Blankensee, about twenty participants from research and agricultural practice discussed the potential of using mulch in open field vegetable production. Katia Heistermann, who is working on the project at the IGZ, presented preliminary findings of the project: "As we expected, the soil beneath a mulch layer of green rye and winter pea shows higher moisture levels than without ground cover. There are also lower soil temperatures beneath so-called living mulch, in our case subterranean clover."
The strip-till machine, which allows easy pepraring of planting furrows without extensive tillage of the soil, was demonstrated. This included placing an organic fertiliser in the planting row. At that time, a catch crop with a high legume content was growing on the site.

There was a lively exchange between visitors and project participants about the site-specific possibilities of the method. There was also great interest in the type and composition of the mulch.

The "BioStripPlant" project is focused on the development and testing of conservation tillage practices in organic vegetable production, in which planting furrows are tilled as strips on an existing undersown crop or mulched intercrop without conventional tilling the entire soil ("strip-till"). The aim is to develop recommendations for the application of this method in Brandenburg, Germany.

Under the leadership of agrathaer GmbH, "BioStrip Plant" brings together partners from research and practice: three horticultural enterprises from Brandenburg - Bauernhof Weggun GmbH, Bio-Gärtnerei Watzkendorf GmbH and Bio-Alpakaland Götze/Riesener GbR - the Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ) and the Fördergemeinschaft Ökologischer Landbau e.V. form the operational group. Three associated partner institutions support the dissemination of results and implementation.

The project is funded by the European Innovation Partnerships for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

Katia Heistermann from the Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ) gave an introduction on the potential of mulch in organic field vegetable production and presented the project and initial results to the participants. Photo: agrathaer G
The participants of the field day had Daniel Riesener (Bio-Alpakaland) explain the advantages and possibilities of the Strip-Till machine. Photo: agrathaer GmbH/K. Funk
The Strip-Till machine with mounted fertiliser tank Photo: agrathaer GmbH/K. Funk