Themes and discussion

Find out more about organic arable farming and organic livestock husbandry, join the discussions, and exchange ideas and information with colleagues and scientists.

Soil quality and fertility

Soil quality and fertility

Sustainable crop production is dependent on maintaining and improving soil quality and fertility, which are in turn dependent on organic matter in the soil and its impact on the soil’s chemical, biological and physical properties. Organic matter is the source of life for the immense variety of soil microbes and soil fauna that make nutrients available and build soil structure. Therefore, crop rotations should always include a phase that allows organic matter in the soil to build up i.e. through incorporating perennial grass-clover leys or catch crops during autumn and winter. To protect soil life, the input of nutrients via manure, crop residues or other fertilisers should be well-balanced. Compaction by heavy machinery should be avoided for the same reason.

On this page, you can find tools and resources to help you improve soil quality and fertility, and you can discuss the topic with others.



Featured tools

Advanced system in wheat: Combination of agronomical levels: The French experimentMost popular tool

Advanced system in wheat: Combination of agronomical levels: The French experiment

The purpose of this tool is to provide information on the production of wheat without pesticides or fertilizer. The tool suggests crop rotation,…

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Free-range laying hens: providing species-appropriate and sustainable husbandryLatest tool

Free-range laying hens: providing species-appropriate and sustainable husbandry

The leaflet provides the most important information on the design, use and care of outdoor runs for laying hens. It includes information on suitable…

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Tools

TitleIssuing organisationProjectYear of releaseRating
A farmer’s guide to organic fruit and vegetable productionOCW - Organic Centre WalesOK-Net Arable20083.5 (2)
Advanced system in wheat: Combination of agronomical levels: The French...PUREOK-Net Arable-5 (1)
Aerated compost tea (ACT) to improve soil biology and to act as a...ORC - Organic Research Centre, Elm FarmOK-Net Arable20174.8 (5)
Assessing soil structure with two simple methods : Spade Test and mini 3D soil...ARVALIS - Institut du végétalOK-Net Arable2017
Autumn cover cropsAIAB - Associazione Italiana Agricoltura BiologicaOK-Net Arable20183 (4)
Bringing the dirt to your doorstep: organic no-till weed managementRodale InstituteOK-Net Arable20142.8 (4)
Catch crop in maize (OK-Net Arable Practice Abstract)FiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20174 (1)
Cereal Disease EncyclopaediaAHDB - Agriculture and Horticulture Development...OK-Net Arable2008
Challenges of Organic Arable Farming 1st module: Strategies to enhance soil...IAMB - Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of BariOK-Net Arable2017
Challenges of Organic Arable Farming 2nd module: Fertilization strategies to...IAMB - Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of BariOK-Net Arable2017
Challenges of Organic Arable Farming 4th module: Technical tools, strategies...IAMB - Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of BariOK-Net Arable2017
Challenges of Organic Arable Farming - 6th module: Recovery and final synthesisIAMB - Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of BariOK-Net Arable2017
Choosing cover crops for arable crop rotationsITAB - Institute for Organic Agriculture and FoodOK-Net Arable2018
Commercial organic fertiliser as supplementary fertilisers in potato crop...FiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20174 (1)
Composting leaflet – agroecological approach at your farmBioforum Vlaanderen vzwOK-Net Arable20134.5 (2)
Control of creeping thistle by stubble cultivation (OK-Net Arable Practice...FiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20174.5 (2)
Controlled traffic farming: A new track for soil and weed control in organic...InagroOK-Net Arable2018
Controlling docks by stubble cultivation (OK-Net Arable Practice Abstract)FiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20174.5 (2)
Cover Crop (Rye) and No-Till System in WisconsinFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20145 (3)
Cover crop and living mulch toolboxTechnical University of Munich TUM, School of Life...OK-Net Arable20143.4 (10)
Cover crop management and terminationSARE - Sustainable Agriculture Research &...OK-Net Arable2014
Cover crop mulches and no-till maizeAIAB - Associazione Italiana Agricoltura BiologicaOK-Net Arable20181 (1)
Cover crop mulches and no-till soybeanAIAB - Associazione Italiana Agricoltura BiologicaOK-Net Arable2017
Crop rotation and its ability to suppress perennial weedsSEGESOK-Net Arable20174.5 (2)
Crop rotation and its ability to suppress perennial weedsSEGESOK-Net Arable20163 (1)
Crop Rotation in Organic SystemsOACC - Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada,...OK-Net Arable-
Crop rotations on diversified farmsSouthern Regional Extension ForestryOK-Net Arable2013
Cultivating a diverse wheat population suitable for low-input and organic...ORC - Organic Research Centre, Elm FarmOK-Net Arable20175 (1)
Cultivation in rows – Catch crops - tolerance and regrowthAU - Aarhus University , KU - Copenhagen University , AgroIntelli , Økologisk VKST , Barritskov Land- og Skovbrug , SEGESOK-Net Arable2018
Cultivation in rows – cereals with catch cropsSEGES , AU - Aarhus University , KU - Copenhagen University , AgroIntelli , Økologisk VKST , Barritskov Land- og SkovbrugOK-Net Arable2018
Cultivation in rows – Nitrogen fixation by catch crops and their effect on yieldSEGES , AU - Aarhus University , KU - Copenhagen University , AgroIntelli , Økologisk VKST , Barritskov Land- og SkovbrugOK-Net Arable2018
Cultivation in rows – Sowing time for catch cropsAU - Aarhus University , KU - Copenhagen University , AgroIntelli , Økologisk VKST , Barritskov Land- og Skovbrug , SEGESOK-Net Arable20185 (2)
Cultivation in rows – Weed control between stubble rowsAU - Aarhus University , KU - Copenhagen University , AgroIntelli , Økologisk VKST , Barritskov Land- og Skovbrug , SEGESOK-Net Arable2018
Cultivation in rows – Weed control in spring cereal grainsAU - Aarhus University , KU - Copenhagen University , AgroIntelli , Økologisk VKST , Barritskov Land- og Skovbrug , SEGESOK-Net Arable20185 (1)
Demonstration of Hoeing Machines in Arable FarmingFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable2011
Demonstration of Plough DethatchersFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20144.5 (2)
Determine compost quality using the cress tests (OK-Net Arable Practice...FiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable2018
Direct drilling of winter cerealsAIAB - Associazione Italiana Agricoltura BiologicaOK-Net Arable2018
Direct Sowing of MaizeFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable2015
Direct sowing with green manureBioselena - Foundation for organic agriculture , IFOAM EUOK-Net Arable2018
Diverse fertility building leys in arable rotationsORC - Organic Research Centre, Elm FarmOK-Net Arable20173.5 (2)
DSS "Weed Control in Organic Winter Wheat Production"University of BonnOK-Net Arable2004
Earthworms: architects of fertile soilsFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20143.6 (11)
ECOPHYTOPIC – The portal for integrated crop protection of arable cropsACTA - Les Instituts Techniques AgricolesOK-Net Arable-3.3 (3)
Efficient nitrogen use from livestock manureSEGESOK-Net Arable2016
Efficient use of nitrogen from livestock manureSEGESOK-Net Arable20174 (2)
Free-range laying hens: animal and environment friendlyFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net EcoFeed20014 (1)
Free-range laying hens: providing species-appropriate and sustainable husbandryFiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture , Bioland Beratung , KÖN - Kompetenzzentrum Ökolandbau Niedersachsen , Bio AustriaOK-Net EcoFeed2010
Friedrich Wenz on Soil Fertility and Reduced TillageFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20145 (1)
Getting your land ready to grow organically – certified or notMichigan State UniversityOK-Net Arable2016
Grain legumes and soil fertility - Strategies for a successful cultivationBfN - Federal Agency for Nature ConservationOK-Net Arable20143.5 (2)
Green manure and cover crops in organic agriculture: general introductionITAB - Institute for Organic Agriculture and FoodOK-Net Arable2012
Green manure and cover crops in organic agriculture: guide to the choice of the...ITAB - Institute for Organic Agriculture and FoodOK-Net Arable20124 (3)
Growing cover crops in organic arable crop rotations: Best practices from...SEGESOK-Net Arable20174 (2)
Growing cover crops in organic arable crop rotations: best practices from...SEGESOK-Net Arable2016
Hairy Vetch – an Excellent Green Manure for Dry ConditionsFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20144 (2)
Healthy Grassland Soils PocketbookAHDB - Agriculture and Horticulture Development...OK-Net Arable2015
How to successfully convert to organic arable farmingLFI - Ländliches Fortbildungsinstitut ÖsterreichOK-Net Arable20175 (2)
Incorporating Green ManuresFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20134.5 (2)
Inter-row cultivation for mechanical weed control in winter oilseed rapePUREOK-Net Arable-
Intercropping grain peas with barleyFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable2015
Intercropping grain peas with barley (OK-Net Arable Practice Abstract)FiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20174.3 (3)
Knowledge exchange platform for agroecologySOLAGROOK-Net Arable-3.2 (6)
LeNiBa - the KTBL / isip app for nitrogen balancing of legumesKTBL - Kuratorium für Technik und Bauwesen in der...OK-Net Arable-
Ley Destruction with Shallow Ploughing or CultivatorsFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable2016
Living mulch in vegetablesAIAB - Associazione Italiana Agricoltura BiologicaOK-Net Arable2015
Managing for Soil Health on an Organic Farm - A Farmer's PerspectiveSouthern Regional Extension ForestryOK-Net Arable2014
Mechanical Weed Control in MaizeFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable2013
Mechanical weeding in arable cropsITAB - Institute for Organic Agriculture and FoodOK-Net Arable20124.6 (9)
Monitoring and comparing cover crop performancesITAB - Institute for Organic Agriculture and FoodOK-Net Arable2018
Multispectral remote sensing in participatory on-farm variety trialsÖMKi - Hungarian Research Institute of Organic...OK-Net Arable2018
NDICEA - Nitrogen Planer – version 6.2LBI - Louis Bolk InstituteOK-Net Arable20144 (4)
New ways of stubble cultivationFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable2010
Nitrogen budget calculator. A tool to calculate N-budgets in organic forage...ZALF - Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape...20133.8 (4)
No-till cultivation of maize in rolled forage peas (OK-Net Arable Practice...FiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable2017
Nutrient Budgeting: Organic Considerations for Implementing NRCS CPS 590Southern Regional Extension ForestryOK-Net Arable2014
Nutrient management in farms in conversion to organicLfULG - Sächsische Landesanstalt für Umwelt,...OK-Net Arable2008
Nutrient supplyFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20112 (1)
Oregon Tilth 2017 WEBINAR SERIESOregon TilthOK-Net Arable2017
Organic CerealsFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20104 (3)
Organic Cover Cropping and IntercroppingWashington State University - PuyallupOK-Net Arable2011
Organic cultivation in autumn 2016 - Varieties, Seeds and Crop managementLFI - Ländliches Fortbildungsinstitut ÖsterreichOK-Net Arable2016
Organic Cultivation in Spring 2016 - Varieties, Seeds and Crop managementLFI - Ländliches Fortbildungsinstitut ÖsterreichOK-Net Arable2016
Organic Field Crop ProductionOACC - Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada,...OK-Net Arable-
Organic no-till systemsSouthern Regional Extension ForestryOK-Net Arable2013
Organic quality wheat production - Results of long-term field trials of...LFI - Ländliches Fortbildungsinstitut ÖsterreichOK-Net Arable2016
Organic Small Grain ProductionSouthern Regional Extension ForestryOK-Net Arable2011
Organic Weed Management: A Practical GuideCharles MerfieldOK-Net Arable2000
Pest Management in Organic Cropping SystemsOACC - Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada,...OK-Net Arable-
Pest Management in Organic Production SystemsSouthern Regional Extension ForestryOK-Net Arable2011
Potato Crop ManagementFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable2010
Practical advice for organic production of lupinesLandesforschungsanstalt für Landwirtschaft und...OK-Net Arable20144 (4)
Processing Quality of Organic WheatFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable2015
Quick test for infiltration of arable soilsBioland , FiBL Projekte GmbHOK-Net Arable2018
Reduced TillageFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20143.5 (2)
Reduced Tillage Stubble Incorporation - Comparsion of Different Machine TypesFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20134 (1)
Reduced Tillage Systems - Practical RecommendationFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20143.7 (3)
Regionally adapted humus balance in organic farmingLfULG - Sächsische Landesanstalt für Umwelt,...OK-Net Arable20133.7 (3)
Results an lessons learnt from field vegetables activity - cabbagePUREOK-Net Arable-
Results and lessons learnt from wheat-based cropping system activityPUREOK-Net Arable-
Rolling of grains to prevent winter kill damage (OK-Net Arable Practice...FiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable2017
ROTOR: organic crop rotation plannerZALF - Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape...OK-Net Arable20074.6 (11)
Satellite based and camera-controlled steering systemsFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20152 (1)
Shallow Ploughing of Leys – Comparison of Different Plough and Cultivator TypesFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable2015
Simple building blocks for improved soil fertility – Look and judge yourselfInagroOK-Net Arable2007
SmartSOIL ToolAU - Aarhus UniversityOK-Net Arable20152 (3)
Soil and Fertility Management in Organic SystemsOACC - Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada,...OK-Net Arable-5 (1)
Soil fertility - manure treatmentLandwirtschaftliches Zentrum LiebeggOK-Net Arable2009
Soil protection and Crop RotationFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable2007
Soil quality test kit guideUSDA - United States Department of AgricultureOK-Net Arable20013.1 (7)
Soil tillageFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable2013
SOILappSchool of Advanced Studies Sant'Anna, Institute of... , Scuola Esperienziale Itinerante di Agricoltura... , AEGILOPS - The Greek Network for Biodiversity and...OK-Net Arable2018
SoilDocFiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture2019
Sort Out Your Soil: A practical guide to green manuresCotswold Seeds Ltd. , Garden OrganicOK-Net Arable-4 (5)
Spade testISARA - Institut supérieure d’agriculture LyonOK-Net Arable2016
Testing peas for legume fatigue (OK-Net Arable Practice Abstract)FiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20175 (1)
The Basics of Soil FertilityFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20132.7 (3)
The Muencheberg Soil Quality Rating (SQR)ZALF - Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape...OK-Net Arable20074 (4)
The Spade test - Visual soil assessment in the fieldFiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20164.7 (3)
The use of legumes - Nature-compatible cultivation practicesBfN - Federal Agency for Nature ConservationOK-Net Arable2014
Transition to organic productionOACC - Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada,...OK-Net Arable-
Use of variety mixtures to reduce disease, increase resource-use efficiency...PUREOK-Net Arable-
Using crop rotation to control wireworms (OK-Net Arable Practice Abstract)FiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20174 (1)
Visual soil assessment: field guide for croppingLandcare ResearchOK-Net Arable20004.4 (5)
Weed control in organic farming through mechanical solutionsUniversity of KasselOK-Net Arable20113.5 (4)
Weed control in soy with the finger weeder (OK-Net Arable Practice Abstract)FiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable2017
Weed harrowing in spring cerealsPUREOK-Net Arable-
Winter field peas as green manure before maize (OK-Net Arable Practice Abstract)FiBL - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureOK-Net Arable20174.5 (2)


Discussion forum

Here you can discuss your problems and solutions for this theme