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Central Field Experiments

Within the framework of Soil3, three central field experiments (CF) were set up to

  1. assess the technical and economic feasibility of specific tillage practices (CF1),
  2. demonstrate the interactive benefits of legume cultivation and mechanical subsoil melioration (CF 2), and
  3. validate our concept of subsoil melioration at a sandy site with a dry climate (CF 3).

Field experiment 1 (Klein-Altendorf near Bonn) was established with different techniques of stripwise subsoil manipulation and consists of three sub-trials: In CF 1-1, different materials for subsoil melioration were tested (biocompost, greenwaste compost, straw, sawdust). In CF 1-2, the amounts of compost applied were varied (30, 50, or 70 m3/ha). In CF 1-3, different genotypes were grown.

Field experiment 2 (Klein-Altendorf near Bonn) includes treatments with and without alfalfa as a pre-crop. After the end of the pre-crop phase in 2018, different methods of mechanical subsoil melioration were applied.

Field experiment 3 (Thyrow near Berlin) follows the experimental design of CF 1 and CF 2 with site-adapted modifications.

To demonstrate the positive effects of our melioration technique, the following parameters and subsoil properties are studied:

  • yields of field crops
  • various parameters of root growth such as root length density
  • basic soil properties such as bulk density, carbon and nitrogen stocks, pH, texture, electrical conductivity
  • nutrient contents and nutrient use efficiency
  • water contents and water dynamics
  • subsoil heterogeneity in terms of carbon contents and biopores
  • composition and functional properties of the microbial community, root pathogens
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