Ragnar Eltun

Head of Department/Head of Research

(+47) 975 83 073


Visiting address
Nylinna 226, 2849 Kapp

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The three organic cropping systems Landvik (in Grimstad), Voll (at Ås) and Kvithamar (in Stjørdal) were established in 1993 on previously conventionally farmed soils of marine origin. The six-year crop rotation at Landvik was designed for an organic stockless farm producing cash crops. These crops were fertilized with composted organic household waste from the nearby community (maximum 100 kg N ha-1) and composted waste from the system itself. The rotation at Voll was designed for an arable farm withbeef production from suckling cows (0.9 animal units ha-1), and the rotation at Kvithamar was designed for a dairy cattle farm (1.0 animal unit ha-1). During the first six years of organic farming, the soil reserves of K were slightly depleted. The nutrient balance was –250 kg K ha-1 at Voll and –420 kg K ha-1 at Landvik, and the content of easily soluble K in the plough layer decreased at these sites. At Kvithamar, however, where the K balance for six years was –380 kg ha-1, no changes in soil content of K were recorded. For P, the six-year balance was positive at Landvik, where altogether 120 kg P ha-1 was supplied from composted household waste. The P balance was negative (-40 kg ha-1) at Voll and Kvithamar, and at Voll the content of easily soluble P in the plough layer was lower in 1999 than in 1993. In the study period, the yields were variable both within and between the systems. We have not identified any trends or variations in yields that might have been directly caused by changesin soil nutrient status or other soil quality components. At Voll and Kvithamar, however, the number of earthworm and the soil macroporosity increased from 1993 to 1999, with a concurrent slight increase in the yields of leys (Voll) and grain crops and swedes (Kvithamar). In the system at Landvik the yields of potatos and carrots were higher the first two than the last four years. At this site the soil structure was good, and the porosity and earthworm activity high, during the whole study period.