The effect of organic and conventional management on the yield and quality of wheat grown in a long-term field trial
Bilsborrow, Paul and Cooper, Julia and Tetard-Jones, Catherine and Srednicka-Tober, Dominika and Baraniski, Marcin and Eyre, Mick and Schmidt, Christoph and Shotton, Peter and Volakakis, Nikolaos and Çakmak, İsmail and Öztürk, Levent and Leifert, Carlo and Wilcockson, Steve (2013) The effect of organic and conventional management on the yield and quality of wheat grown in a long-term field trial. European Journal of Agronomy, 51 . pp. 71-80. ISSN 1161-0301 (Print) 1873-7331 (Online)
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eja.2013.06.003
The performance of winter wheat was evaluated under organic (ORG) and conventional (CON) management systems in the Nafferton Factorial Systems Comparison (NFSC) long-term field trial. The present study separates out the crop protection and fertility management components of organic and conventional production systems using two levels each of crop protection (CP) and fertility management (FM). The experimental design provided the four combinations of crop protection and fertility (CON-CP CONFM, CON-CP ORG-FM, ORG-CP CON-FM and ORG-CP ORG-FM) to evaluate their effects on yield, quality (protein content and hectolitre weight) and disease levels during the period 2004–2008. The conventional management system (CON-CP CON-FM) out-yielded the organic management system (ORG-CP ORG-FM) in all years by an average of 3.1 t ha−1, i.e. 7.9 t ha−1 vs. 4.8 t ha−1. Fertility management was the key factor identified limiting both yield and grain protein content in the ORG management system. The CON-FM produced on average a 3% higher protein content than ORG-FM in all years (12.5% vs. 9.7%). However the ORG-CP system produced higher protein levels than CON-CP although it was only in 2008 that this was statistically significant. In contrast to protein content it was ORG-FM which produced a higher hectolitre weight than the CON-FM system (71.6 kg hl−1 vs. 71.0 kg hl−1). The clear and significant differences in yield and protein content between the ORG-FM and CON-FM systems suggest a limited supply of available N in the organic fertility management system which is also supported by the significant interaction effect of the preceding crop on protein content. The pRDA showed that although fertilisation had the greatest effect on yield, quality and disease there was also a considerable effect of crop protection and the environment.
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