Climate extremes are projected to become more frequent and severe in Nordic and Baltic regions. In particular, spring droughts lead to asignificant reduction in crop yields with negative economic consequences for farmers and society. Therefore, resilient production (eco)systems that deliver genuinely long-term sustainable cropping systems are required to secure crop productivity that will contribute to necessary climate change mitigation.
The EU Common Agricultural Policy reform promotes a policy of sustainable intensification of agricultural land e.g., via crop diversification. Yet, little is known on the potential of diversified cropping systems and their influence onsoil functioning (e.g., carbon sequestration potential, soil biodiversity, nutrient cycling) and food security (e.g., food quality). The aim of AgroMixNorth is to improve our understanding on the impact of crop diversification (both intra- and interspecific), soil functioning and food quality, and to evaluate potential synergies and trade-offs arising from specific agricultural management systems. Focus will be onsystems that include an increase of the intraspecific diversity of cereal crops (spring barley and oats) with and without intercropping of legumes or cover crops (e.g., clover, peas, faba beans).
The project is constructed around the central hypothesis that diversified cropping systems, due to their spatial and temporal niche complementary, are more climate-smart and resilient cropping systems compared with mono-culture systems. Overall, AgroMixNorth is aiming to (i) foster a common network of interest focusing on the development of climate-smart and resilient agricultural management systems for Northern Europe; (ii) have an impact on policy and framing policy discussions in light of new management tools available for future-proofing food supply and mitigating climate change, and (iii) improve the knowledge of the wider policy context with education and training opportunities for younger researchers and those connected to the agriculture industry.