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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…

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Cultivation in rows – Nitrogen fixation by catch crops and their effect on yieldLatest tool

Cultivation in rows – Nitrogen fixation by catch crops and their effect on yield

Row cultivation in cereals with nitrogen-fixing crops can improve nitrogen supply in the crop rotation, while reducing nitrogen leaching.…

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Tools

TitleIssuing organisationProjectYear of releaseRating
A farmer’s guide to organic fruit and vegetable productionOrganic 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...Organic Research Centre ORC, Elm FarmOK-Net Arable , Organic Research Centre (ORC) - Elm Farm20174.7 (3)
Assessing soil structure with two simple methods : Spade Test and mini 3D soil...ARVALIS - Institut du végétalOK-Net Arable , ARVALIS - Institut du végétal2017
Autumn cover cropsAssociazione Italiana Agricoltura Biologica AIABOK-Net Arable , IFOAM EU Group , AIAB20183 (4)
Bringing the dirt to your doorstep: organic no-till weed managementRodale Institute, KutztownSelected tools , OK-Net Arable20142.8 (4)
Catch crop in maizeResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLAdvisory Service , OK-Net Arable20174 (1)
Cereal Disease EncyclopaediaAgriculture and Horticulture Development Board...OK-Net Arable , Other organizations2008
Challenges of Organic Arable Farming 1st module: Strategies to enhance soil...Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari CIHEAM...OK-Net Arable , IAMB Mediterranean Agronomic Institute Bari2017
Challenges of Organic Arable Farming 2nd module: Fertilization strategies to...Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari CIHEAM...OK-Net Arable , IAMB Mediterranean Agronomic Institute Bari2017
Challenges of Organic Arable Farming 4th module: Technical tools, strategies...Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari CIHEAM...OK-Net Arable , IAMB Mediterranean Agronomic Institute Bari2017
Challenges of Organic Arable Farming - 6th module: Recovery and final synthesisMediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari CIHEAM...OK-Net Arable , IAMB Mediterranean Agronomic Institute Bari2017
Choosing cover crops for arable crop rotationsFrench Research Institute for Organic Farming ITABOK-Net Arable , ITAB - Institut Technique en Agriculture... , IFOAM EU Group2018
Commercial organic fertiliser as supplementary fertilisers in potato crop...Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLCommunication , OK-Net Arable20174 (1)
Composting leaflet – agroecological approach at your farmBioforum Vlaanderen vzwBioforum Vlaanderen , OK-Net Arable20134.5 (2)
Control of creeping thistle by stubble cultivationResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLAdvisory Service , OK-Net Arable , IFOAM EU Group20174.5 (2)
Controlled traffic farming: A new track for soil and weed control in organic...INAGROOK-Net Arable , IFOAM EU Group2018
Controlling docks by stubble cultivationResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLAdvisory Service , OK-Net Arable20174.5 (2)
Cover Crop (Rye) and No-Till System in WisconsinResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLAdvisory Service , OK-Net Arable20145 (3)
Cover crop and living mulch toolboxTechnical University of Munich TUM, School of Life...Selected tools , Universität München - TUM , OK-Net Arable , OSCAR20143.4 (10)
Cover crop management and terminationSustainable Agriculture Research & Education SAREOK-Net Arable , Other organizations2014
Cover crop mulches and no-till maizeAssociazione Italiana Agricoltura Biologica AIABOK-Net Arable , IFOAM EU Group , AIAB20181 (1)
Cover crop mulches and no-till soybeanAssociazione Italiana Agricoltura Biologica AIABOK-Net Arable , AIAB2017
Crop rotation and its ability to suppress perennial weedsSEGESSEGES , OK-Net Arable20174.5 (2)
Crop rotation and its ability to suppress perennial weedsSEGESSEGES , OK-Net Arable20163 (1)
Crop Rotation in Organic SystemsDalhousie University, Organic Agriculture Centre...OK-Net Arable-
Crop rotations on diversified farmsSouthern Regional Extension ForestryOK-Net Arable , Other organizations2013
Cultivating a diverse wheat population suitable for low-input and organic...Organic Research Centre ORC, Elm FarmOK-Net Arable , Organic Research Centre (ORC) - Elm Farm2017
Cultivation in rows – Catch crops - tolerance and regrowthAarhus University , Copenhagen University , AgroIntelli , Økologisk VKST , Barritskov Land- og Skovbrug , SEGES Økologi InnovationOK-Net Arable2018
Cultivation in rows – cereals with catch cropsSEGES Økologi Innovation , Aarhus University , Copenhagen University , AgroIntelli , Økologisk VKST , Barritskov Land- og SkovbrugOK-Net Arable2018
Cultivation in rows – Nitrogen fixation by catch crops and their effect on yieldSEGES Økologi Innovation , Aarhus University , Copenhagen University , AgroIntelli , Økologisk VKST , Barritskov Land- og SkovbrugOK-Net Arable2018
Cultivation in rows – Sowing time for catch cropsAarhus University , Copenhagen University , AgroIntelli , Økologisk VKST , Barritskov Land- og Skovbrug , SEGES Økologi InnovationOK-Net Arable20185 (1)
Cultivation in rows – Weed control between stubble rowsAarhus University , Copenhagen University , AgroIntelli , Økologisk VKST , Barritskov Land- og Skovbrug , SEGES Økologi InnovationOK-Net Arable2018
Cultivation in rows – Weed control in spring cereal grainsAarhus University , Copenhagen University , AgroIntelli , Økologisk VKST , Barritskov Land- og Skovbrug , SEGES Økologi InnovationOK-Net Arable2018
Demonstration of Hoeing Machines in Arable FarmingResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLCommunication , OK-Net Arable2011
Demonstration of Plough DethatchersResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLAdvisory Service , OK-Net Arable20144.5 (2)
Determine compost quality using the cress testsResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)OK-Net Arable , FiBL - Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau... , IFOAM EU Group2018
Direct drilling of winter cerealsAssociazione Italiana Agricoltura Biologica AIABOK-Net Arable , IFOAM EU Group , AIAB2018
Direct Sowing of MaizeResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLCommunication , OK-Net Arable2015
Direct sowing with green manureFoundation for organic agriculture Bioselena , IFOAM EUBioselena , OK-Net Arable , IFOAM EU Group2018
Diverse fertility building leys in arable rotationsOrganic Reserach Centre ORC, Elm FarmOK-Net Arable , Organic Research Centre (ORC) - Elm Farm20173.5 (2)
DSS "Weed Control in Organic Winter Wheat Production"University Bonn, Institute of Organic AgricultureInstitute of Organic Agriculture , OK-Net Arable2004
Earthworms: architects of fertile soilsResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLTILMAN-ORG , Soil Sciences , OK-Net Arable , Pflanzenschutz und Biodiversität20143.6 (11)
ECOPHYTOPIC – The portal for integrated crop protection of arable cropsLes Instituts Techniques Agricoles ACTAOK-Net Arable , ACTA - Association de Coordination Technique...-3.3 (3)
Efficient nitrogen use from livestock manureSEGESSEGES , OK-Net Arable2016
Efficient use of nitrogen from livestock manureSEGESSEGES , OK-Net Arable20174 (2)
Friedrich Wenz on Soil Fertility and Reduced TillageResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLAdvisory Service , OK-Net Arable20145 (1)
Getting your land ready to grow organically – certified or notMichigan State UniversityOK-Net Arable , USA2016
Grain legumes and soil fertility - Strategies for a successful cultivationFederal Agency for Nature Conservation BfNOK-Net Arable20143.5 (2)
Green manure and cover crops in organic agriculture: general introductionFrench Research Institute for Organic Farming ITABOK-Net Arable , ITAB - Institut Technique en Agriculture...2012
Green manure and cover crops in organic agriculture: guide to the choice of the...French Research Institute for Organic Farming ITABOK-Net Arable , ITAB - Institut Technique en Agriculture...20124 (3)
Growing cover crops in organic arable crop rotations: Best practices from...SEGESSEGES , OK-Net Arable20174 (2)
Growing cover crops in organic arable crop rotations: best practices from...SEGESSEGES , OK-Net Arable2016
Hairy Vetch – an Excellent Green Manure for Dry ConditionsResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLAdvisory Service , OK-Net Arable20144 (2)
Healthy Grassland Soils PocketbookAgriculture and Horticulture Development Board...OK-Net Arable , ADAS , Other organizations , Scottish Rural Colleges (SRUC - previously SAC) , Univ. Newcastle2015
How to successfully convert to organic arable farmingLändliches Fortbildungsinstitut Österreich LFIFiBL Austria , OK-Net Arable , Weitere Organisationen20175 (2)
Incorporating Green ManuresResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLCommunication , OK-Net Arable20134.5 (2)
Inter-row cultivation for mechanical weed control in winter oilseed rapePUREOK-Net Arable-
Intercropping grain peas with barleyResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLSoil Sciences , Communication , OK-Net Arable2015
Knowledge exchange platform for agroecologySOLAGROOK-Net Arable-3.2 (6)
LeNiBa - the KTBL / isip app for nitrogen balancing of legumesKuratorium für Technik und Bauwesen in der...OK-Net Arable-
Ley Destruction with Shallow Ploughing or CultivatorsResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLCommunication , OK-Net Arable2016
Living mulch in vegetablesAssociazione Italiana Agricoltura Biologica AIABOK-Net Arable , AIAB2015
Managing for Soil Health on an Organic Farm - A Farmer's PerspectiveSouthern Regional Extension ForestryOK-Net Arable2014
Mechanical Weed Control in MaizeResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLCommunication , OK-Net Arable2013
Mechanical weeding in arable cropsFrench Research Institute for Organic Farming ITABOK-Net Arable , ITAB - Institut Technique en Agriculture...20124.6 (9)
Monitoring and comparing cover crop performancesFrench Research Institute for Organic Farming ITABOK-Net Arable , ITAB - Institut Technique en Agriculture... , IFOAM EU Group2018
Multispectral remote sensing in participatory on-farm variety trialsHungarian Research Institute of Organic...OK-Net Arable , Ökológiai Mezőgazdasági Kutatóintézet , IFOAM EU Group2018
NDICEA - Nitrogen Planer – version 6.2Louis Bolk InstituteLouis Bolk Institute , OK-Net Arable , Organic Research Centre (ORC) - Elm Farm20144 (4)
New ways of stubble cultivationResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLOK-Net Arable2010
Nitrogen budget calculator. A tool to calculate N-budgets in organic forage...Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung...Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research - ZALF20133.8 (4)
No-till cultivation of maize in rolled forage peasResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)Advisory Service , OK-Net Arable2017
Nutrient Budgeting: Organic Considerations for Implementing NRCS CPS 590Southern Regional Extension ForestryOK-Net Arable2014
Nutrient management in farms in conversion to organicSächsische Landesanstalt für Umwelt,...Landesanstalt Landwirtschaft , OK-Net Arable2008
Nutrient supplyResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLOK-Net Arable , FiBL - Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau...20112 (1)
Oregon Tilth 2017 WEBINAR SERIESOregon TilthOK-Net Arable2017
Organic CerealsResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLOK-Net Arable , FiBL - Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau...20104 (2)
Organic Cover Cropping and IntercroppingWashington State University - PuyallupOK-Net Arable2011
Organic cultivation in autumn 2016 - Varieties, Seeds and Crop managementLändliches Fortbildungsinstitut Österreich LFIFiBL Austria , OK-Net Arable , Weitere Organisationen2016
Organic Cultivation in Spring 2016 - Varieties, Seeds and Crop managementLändliches Fortbildungsinstitut Österreich LFIFiBL Austria , OK-Net Arable , Weitere Organisationen2016
Organic Field Crop ProductionDalhousie University, Organic Agriculture Centre...OK-Net Arable-
Organic no-till systemsSouthern Regional Extension ForestryOK-Net Arable2013
Organic quality wheat production - Results of long-term field trials of...Ländliches Fortbildungsinstitut Österreich LFIFiBL Austria , OK-Net Arable , Weitere Organisationen2016
Organic Small Grain ProductionSouthern Regional Extension ForestryOK-Net Arable2011
Organic Weed Management: A Practical GuideCharles MerfieldOK-Net Arable2000
Pest Management in Organic Cropping SystemsDalhousie University, Organic Agriculture Centre...Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada/Centre... , OK-Net Arable-
Pest Management in Organic Production SystemsSouthern Regional Extension ForestryOK-Net Arable2011
Potato Crop ManagementResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLCommunication , OK-Net Arable2010
Practical advice for organic production of lupinesLandesforschungsanstalt für Landwirtschaft und...OK-Net Arable20144 (4)
Practice Abstract: Intercropping grain peas with barleyResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLAdvisory Service , OK-Net Arable20174.3 (3)
Processing Quality of Organic WheatResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLAdvisory Service , OK-Net Arable2015
Quick test for infiltration of arable soilsBioland , FiBL Projekte GmbHBioland , FiBL Projects GmbH , OK-Net Arable , IFOAM EU Group2018
Reduced TillageResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)Advisory Service , OK-Net Arable2014
Reduced Tillage Stubble Incorporation - Comparsion of Different Machine TypesResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLCommunication , OK-Net Arable20134 (1)
Reduced Tillage Systems - Practical RecommendationResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLAdvisory Service , OK-Net Arable20143.7 (3)
Regionally adapted humus balance in organic farmingSächsische Landesanstalt für Umwelt,...AK Versuchsansteller Ökologischer Landbau , Landesamt für Umwelt, Landwirtschaft und Geologie , 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 damageResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLAdvisory Service , OK-Net Arable2017
ROTOR: organic crop rotation plannerLeibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research...OK-Net Arable20074.6 (11)
Satellite based and camera-controlled steering systemsResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLCommunication , OK-Net Arable20152 (1)
Shallow Ploughing of Leys – Comparison of Different Plough and Cultivator TypesResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLAdvisory Service , OK-Net Arable2015
Simple building blocks for improved soil fertility – Look and judge yourselfINAGROOK-Net Arable2007
SmartSOIL ToolAarhus UniversityDepartment of Agroecology , OK-Net Arable20152 (3)
Soil and Fertility Management in Organic SystemsDalhousie University, Organic Agriculture Centre...Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada/Centre... , OK-Net Arable-
Soil fertility - manure treatmentLandwirtschaftliches Zentrum LiebeggOK-Net Arable , Other organizations2009
Soil protection and Crop RotationResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLSoil Sciences , Advisory Service , OK-Net Arable2007
Soil quality test kit guideUnited States Department of Agriculture USDAOK-Net Arable20013.1 (7)
Soil tillageResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLOK-Net Arable2013
SOILappSchool of Advanced Studies Sant'Anna, Institute of... , Scuola Esperienziale Itinerante di Agricoltura... , The Greek Network for Biodiversity and Ecology in...OK-Net Arable , Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna of Pisa2018
Sort Out Your Soil: A practical guide to green manuresCotswold Seeds Ltd , Garden OrganicOK-Net Arable , Garden Organic (HDRA)-4 (5)
Spade testInstitut supérieure d’agriculture Lyon ISARAFertilCrop , OK-Net Arable , ISARA - Institut supérieure d’agriculture Lyon2016
Testing peas for legume fatigueResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLAdvisory Service , OK-Net Arable20175 (1)
The Basics of Soil FertilityResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLSoil Sciences , OK-Net Arable20133.5 (2)
The Muencheberg Soil Quality Rating (SQR)Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research...OK-Net Arable20074 (4)
The Spade test - Visual soil assessment in the fieldResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLSoil Sciences , Communication , OK-Net Arable20164.5 (2)
The use of legumes - Nature-compatible cultivation practicesFederal Agency for Nature Conservation BfNFederal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) , FiBL Deutschland - Forschungsinstitut für... , OK-Net Arable , Department of Organic Farming and Cropping2014
Transition to organic productionDalhousie University, Organic Agriculture Centre...Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada/Centre... , OK-Net Arable-
Use of variety mixtures to reduce disease, increase resource-use efficiency...PUREOK-Net Arable-
Using crop rotation to control wirewormsResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLCommunication , OK-Net Arable20174 (1)
Visual soil assessment: field guide for croppingLandcare ResearchOK-Net Arable20004.4 (5)
Weed control in organic farming through mechanical solutionsUniversity of Kassel, Agricultural EngineeringOK-Net Arable , University of Kassel20113.5 (4)
Weed control in soy with the finger weederResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLAdvisory Service , OK-Net Arable2017
Weed harrowing in spring cerealsPUREOK-Net Arable-
Winter field peas as green manure before maizeResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBLAdvisory Service , OK-Net Arable20174.5 (2)


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