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Chiara De Notaris


Chiara De Notaris


Title of PhD project:
Productivity and nitrogen cycling in organic arable row cropping systems

Productivity in organic arable cropping systems is often limited by weeds and nitrogen availability. Thanks to new technologies for mechanical weed control, inter-row hoeing can be performed after crop sowing in order to reduce weeds pressure. The traditional 12,5 cm row space is not enough to guarantee that the main crop is not damaged, though. For this reason, the row space should be increased to around 25 cm. Even though the number of rows will be lower, the yield ha-1 is not expected to decrease due to a higher seeding density in the rows. Legume based catch crops are able to fixate atmospheric N, representing a valuable source of nitrogen for stockless organic systems. In order to have a proper catch crops establishment, early sowing is recommended. An increased row space has the potential to improve catch crops establishment, affecting their biomass production and, eventually, Biological Nitrogen Fixation. A mixture of catch crops´ biomass and main crop´s residues can then be used for biogas production, and the digested material be applied as fertilizer.

The aim of the project is to evaluate how different row spaces can influence productivity, Biological Nitrogen Fixation, N and C dynamics in organic arable systems.

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ID: 89968175