Designing multispecies grassland leys for optimised soil carbon sequestration and efficient nutrient cycles in crop rotations

Project: Research

Project Details


Multi-species grassland leys can provide significant benefits for
sustainable crop production, including higher soil organic carbon stocks,
yields and yield stability, as well as a strong weed reduction potential. In
crop rotations, they additionally provide legacy effects for follow-on crops
(fertilizer replacement value, improved soil health) and consequent
reductions in GHG emissions. These benefits have direct implications for
existing organic agricultural production, which becomes less dependent
on slurry and reduces weed pressure in arable crops, as well as trigger
the conversion of conventional agriculture to organic agriculture.
GrassRotate will use an existing long term organic crop-rotation
experiment to determine optimal management techniques to enhance
yields, fertilizer replacement potential and forage quality of a multispecies
grassland compared to a traditional grass-clover ley.
Furthermore, it will for the first time closely examine the legacy effects in
crop rotations and determine changes in soil organic carbon stocks in
both shallow and deep soil layers to examine the impact of ley duration
and management on the climate change mitigation potential. Finally, the
gained insight will be upscaled to the farm level and optimised
management schemes and their economic and environmental potential
will be assessed.

Layman's description

The project aims to understand, how we can use species rich grasslands in crop rotations, to make the agricultural production as a whole more climate friendly and reduce inputs from herbicides and fertilizers.
Effective start/end date01/01/202331/12/2025


  • Grasslands
  • biodiversity


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