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Constraints and opportunities for organic crop production in areas of high agricultural productivity

Published: 22 May 2024
Rafaelle Reumaux is nailing her doctoral thesis on a tree.

Tomorrow, Rafaelle Reumaux will defend her thesis about the diversity of management practices in organic cereal production. We ask her three questions.

What is your research about, more specifically?

I have studied how to use a variety of methods and crop sequences to get higher yields in organic cropping systems, especially in areas in Sweden where the soil is highly fertile and where organic cultivation is not as common as it is in less productive areas. I have done field-trials directly on-farms and used data that Swedish farmers reported when they applied for subsidies from the EU (the Land Parcel Identification System), to study the crop sequences across agricultural areas.

What have you learned during your studies?

The combination of data analyses and field trials and interviews with farmers has given me a specific understanding of how variable organic farming is with regard to crop rotations, farming methods and nutrient supply with alternatives to animal manure, and how this in turn affects yield and the protein content of cereals. Exploring this diversity gives opportunities to improve organic production by including it in the circular economy and developing training programs for farmers and advisors for example.

How did you become interested in this research?

When I was a trainee at the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen I compiled scientific data, concerning the environment, for policy makers. I felt that I wanted to become a researcher who make these kind of data. Before this I studied environmental science and agronomy in Copenhagen and Vienna. I would like to see my results being used in a policy context in the future.