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.


How to successfully convert to organic arable farmingMost popular tool

How to successfully convert to organic arable farming

The leaflet addresses farmers who are interested in conversion to organic arable farming. Information includes contact points for workshops and…

More
Latest tool

Intercropping grain peas with barley

Intercropping of legumes with cereals is a promising possibility to produce fodder protein while creating few costs and using few resources. …

More


Tools

TitleIssuing organisationYear of releaseRating
A farmer’s guide to organic fruit and vegetable productionOrganic Centre Wales20083.5 (2)
Advanced system in wheat: Combination of agronomical levels: The French...PURE-
Aerated compost tea (ACT) to improve soil biology and to act as a...Organic Research Centre ORC, Elm Farm20174.7 (3)
Assessing soil structure with two simple methods : Spade Test and mini 3D soil...2017
Autumn cover crops20183 (4)
Bringing the dirt to your doorstep: organic no-till weed managementRodale Institute20142.8 (4)
Catch crop in maizeResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20174 (1)
Cereal Disease EncyclopaediaAgriculture and Horticulture Development Board...2008
Challenges of Organic Arable Farming 1st module: Strategies to enhance soil...2017
Challenges of Organic Arable Farming 2nd module: Fertilization strategies to...2017
Challenges of Organic Arable Farming 4th module: Technical tools, strategies...2017
Challenges of Organic Arable Farming - 6th module: Recovery and final synthesis2017
Choosing cover crops for arable crop rotations2018
Commercial organic fertiliser as supplementary fertilisers in potato crop...Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20174 (1)
Composting leaflet – agroecological approach at your farmBioforum Vlaanderen vzw20134.5 (2)
Control of creeping thistle by stubble cultivationResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20174.5 (2)
Controlled traffic farming: A new track for soil and weed control in organic...2018
Controlling docks by stubble cultivationResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20174.5 (2)
Cover Crop (Rye) and No-Till System in WisconsinResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20145 (3)
Cover crop and living mulch toolboxTechnical University of Munich TUM, School of Life...20143.4 (10)
Cover crop management and terminationSustainable Agriculture Research & Education SARE2014
Cover crop mulches and no-till maize20181 (1)
Cover crop mulches and no-till soybeanAssociazione Italiana Agricoltura Biologica AIAB2017
Crop rotation and its ability to suppress perennial weedsSEGES20174.5 (2)
Crop rotation and its ability to suppress perennial weedsSEGES20163 (1)
Crop Rotation in Organic SystemsDalhousie University, Organic Agriculture Centre...-
Crop rotations on diversified farmsSouthern Regional Extension Forestry2013
Cultivating a diverse wheat population suitable for low-input and organic...Organic Research Centre ORC, Elm Farm2017
Demonstration of Hoeing Machines in Arable FarmingResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL2011
Demonstration of Plough DethatchersResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20144.5 (2)
Determine compost quality using the cress tests2018
Direct drilling of winter cereals2018
Direct Sowing of MaizeResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL2015
Direct sowing with green manure2018
Diverse fertility building leys in arable rotationsOrganic Reserach Centre ORC, Elm Farm20173.5 (2)
DSS "Weed Control in Organic Winter Wheat Production"University Bonn, Institute of Organic Agriculture2004
Earthworms: architects of fertile soilsResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20143.6 (11)
ECOPHYTOPIC – The portal for integrated crop protection of arable cropsLes Instituts Techniques Agricoles ACTA-3.3 (3)
Efficient nitrogen use from livestock manureSEGES2016
Efficient use of nitrogen from livestock manureSEGES20174 (2)
Friedrich Wenz on Soil Fertility and Reduced TillageResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20145 (1)
Getting your land ready to grow organically – certified or not2016
Grain legumes and soil fertility - Strategies for a successful cultivationFederal Agency for Nature Conservation BfN20143.5 (2)
Green manure and cover crops in organic agriculture: general introductionFrench Research Institute for Organic Farming ITAB2012
Green manure and cover crops in organic agriculture: guide to the choice of the...French Research Institute for Organic Farming ITAB20124 (3)
Growing cover crops in organic arable crop rotations: Best practices from...SEGES20174 (2)
Growing cover crops in organic arable crop rotations: best practices from...SEGES2016
Hairy Vetch – an Excellent Green Manure for Dry ConditionsResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20144 (2)
Healthy Grassland Soils PocketbookAgriculture and Horticulture Development Board...2015
How to successfully convert to organic arable farmingLändliches Fortbildungsinstitut Österreich LFI20175 (2)
Incorporating Green ManuresResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20134.5 (2)
Inter-row cultivation for mechanical weed control in winter oilseed rapePURE-
Intercropping grain peas with barley2015
Knowledge exchange platform for agroecologySOLAGRO-3.2 (6)
LeNiBa - the KTBL / isip app for nitrogen balancing of legumesKuratorium für Technik und Bauwesen in der...-
Ley Destruction with Shallow Ploughing or CultivatorsResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL2016
Living mulch in vegetables2015
Managing for Soil Health on an Organic Farm - A Farmer's Perspective2014
Mechanical Weed Control in MaizeResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL2013
Mechanical weeding in arable cropsFrench Research Institute for Organic Farming ITAB20124.6 (9)
Monitoring and comparing cover crop performances2018
Multispectral remote sensing in participatory on-farm variety trialsHungarian Research Institute of Organic...2018
NDICEA - Nitrogen Planer – version 6.2Louis Bolk Institute20144 (4)
New ways of stubble cultivationResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL2010
Nitrogen budget calculator. A tool to calculate N-budgets in organic forage...Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung...20133.8 (4)
No-till cultivation of maize in rolled forage peasResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)2017
Nutrient Budgeting: Organic Considerations for Implementing NRCS CPS 5902014
Nutrient management in farms in conversion to organicSächsische Landesanstalt für Umwelt,...2008
Nutrient supplyResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20112 (1)
Oregon Tilth 2017 WEBINAR SERIES2017
Organic CerealsResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20104 (2)
Organic Cover Cropping and Intercropping2011
Organic cultivation in autumn 2016 - Varieties, Seeds and Crop managementLändliches Fortbildungsinstitut Österreich LFI2016
Organic Cultivation in Spring 2016 - Varieties, Seeds and Crop managementLändliches Fortbildungsinstitut Österreich LFI2016
Organic Field Crop ProductionDalhousie University, Organic Agriculture Centre...-
Organic no-till systems2013
Organic quality wheat production - Results of long-term field trials of...Ländliches Fortbildungsinstitut Österreich LFI2016
Organic Small Grain ProductionSouthern Regional Extension Forestry2011
Organic Weed Management: A Practical GuideCharles Merfield2000
Pest Management in Organic Cropping SystemsDalhousie University, Organic Agriculture Centre...-
Pest Management in Organic Production Systems2011
Potato Crop ManagementResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL2010
Practical advice for organic production of lupinesLandesforschungsanstalt für Landwirtschaft und...20144 (4)
Practice Abstract: Intercropping grain peas with barleyResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20174.3 (3)
Processing Quality of Organic WheatResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL2015
Quick test for infiltration of arable soils2018
Reduced TillageResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)2014
Reduced Tillage Stubble Incorporation - Comparsion of Different Machine TypesResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20134 (1)
Reduced Tillage Systems - Practical RecommendationResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20143.7 (3)
Regionally adapted humus balance in organic farmingSächsische Landesanstalt für Umwelt,...20133.7 (3)
Results an lessons learnt from field vegetables activity - cabbagePURE-
Results and lessons learnt from wheat-based cropping system activityPURE-
Rolling of grains to prevent winter kill damageResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL2017
ROTOR: organic crop rotation plannerLeibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research...20074.6 (9)
Satellite based and camera-controlled steering systemsResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20152 (1)
Shallow Ploughing of Leys – Comparison of Different Plough and Cultivator TypesResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL2015
Simple building blocks for improved soil fertility – Look and judge yourself2007
SmartSOIL ToolAarhus University20152 (3)
Soil and Fertility Management in Organic SystemsDalhousie University, Organic Agriculture Centre...-
Soil fertility - manure treatmentLandwirtschaftliches Zentrum Liebegg2009
Soil protection and Crop RotationResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL2007
Soil quality test kit guideUnited States Department of Agriculture USDA20013.1 (7)
Soil tillageResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL2013
SOILapp2018
Sort Out Your Soil: A practical guide to green manuresCotswold Seeds Ltd , Garden Organic-4 (5)
Spade testInstitut supérieure d’agriculture Lyon ISARA2016
Testing peas for legume fatigueResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20175 (1)
The Basics of Soil FertilityResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20133.5 (2)
The Muencheberg Soil Quality Rating (SQR)Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research...20074 (4)
The Spade test - Visual soil assessment in the fieldResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20164.5 (2)
The use of legumes - Nature-compatible cultivation practices2014
Transition to organic productionDalhousie University, Organic Agriculture Centre...-
Use of variety mixtures to reduce disease, increase resource-use efficiency...PURE-
Using crop rotation to control wirewormsResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20174 (1)
Visual soil assessment: field guide for croppingLandcare Research20004.4 (5)
Weed control in organic farming through mechanical solutionsUniversity of Kassel, Agricultural Engineering20113.5 (4)
Weed control in soy with the finger weederResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL2017
Weed harrowing in spring cerealsPURE-
Winter field peas as green manure before maizeResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL20174.5 (2)


Discussion forum

Here you can discuss your problems and solutions for this theme