Turning catch crops into intermediate crops for higher productivity and reduced N and P losses

Last changed: 25 October 2023

High nutrient use efficiency is important for competitiveness in plant production. This project investigates intermediate crops (IC), harvested as biogas substrate, for increasing productivity and nitrogen efficiency, while decreasing the environmental impact. Substantial nitrogen leakage after green peas and early potatoes can be decreased by growing ICs. During winter, there is a risk that nitrogen taken up by the IC is lost. This loss occurs through leaching of nitrate or as nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. Instead of soil incorporation, this project studies a system where fertilized ICs are harvested and digested and where the nutrient-rich residue is returned to a new main crop in the next spring. The hypothesis is that this system will result in lower nutrient losses than the system where all biomass is incorporated. The study uses field experiments where drainage water is collected and nitrous oxide emissions are measured, combined with a techno-economic assessment.

Funding: SLF

Project period: 2016-01-01 - 2018-12-31

Project leader: Linda Tufvesson.

SLU collaborators: Thomas Prade, Sven-Erik Svensson, Maria Ernfors.