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Grassland in crop rotations is beneficial to the climate

Within the framework of a new project, researchers from Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen and SEGES will examine whether it is possible – by means of optimization and development of integrated grassland-arable crop rotations – to increase soil carbon storage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The project is part of the climate research programme from the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark.

2020.02.17 | Camilla Brodam

A new project will examine how farmers may apply grassland-arable crop rotations with an increased proportion of grassland as a means to increase soil carbon stock building. Photo: Jesper Rais

A new project will examine how farmers may apply grassland-arable crop rotations with an increased proportion of grassland as a means to increase soil carbon stock building. Photo: Jesper Rais.

 

The crop rotation is an important tool for farmers in relation disease and pest control, and it helps manage the availability of nutrients in the soil. In addition, crop rotations play an important role in climate change mitigation as it may increase soil carbon storage.

Within the framework of a new project, researchers from Department of Agroecology will examine how farmers may use grassland-arable crop rotations with an increased proportion of grassland as a measure to increase carbon storage and thus reduce climate impact. The project is carried out in collaboration between Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen and SEGES, and the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark financially supports the project with an amount of almost 9 million DKK.

Grassland-arable crop rotations as a climate change mitigation measure

Professor Jørgen Eriksen and a team of researchers will establish a scientific basis for measuring soil carbon stocks and GHG emissions as well as climate impact of grassland and nitrification inhibitors. The project title is “Grassland-arable crop rotations as a climate mitigation measure (Climate Grass)”, and the purpose is to develop and use grassland-arable crop rotations as a mitigation measure by:

  1. Measuring soil carbon stocks in rotations with grassland
  2. Developing models for long-term soil carbon storage and environmental impact
  3. Minimizing nitrous oxide emissions after cultivation
  4. Examining natural nitrification inhibitors in plantain
  5. Analyzing the consequences of crop rotations, feeding and economy at farm level as well as benefits in the form of reduced nitrate leaching and increased biodiversity
  6. Implementing the results in tools for life cycle assessment

The project will address effects and barriers in relation to organic and conventional rotations, and this also applies to any side effects in the form of e.g. nitrate leaching and environmental consideration.


Further information

Professor Jørgen Eriksen
Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University
E-mail: jorgen.eriksen@agro.au.dk
Tel.: 8715 7672

Research, Agro, DCA