Biomass in the Haarloseveld and Olden Eibergen - Organic food for thought

Incorporating locally available biomass into the soil, as a mean to increase its content in organic matter in the long term.

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Project summary: 

More than 200 hectares of barren sandy soils can be found in the Haarloseveld Olden Eibergen (Gelderland). The decline of organic matter content comes at the expense of agricultural production and soil fertility. The water system, soil quality and the consequences of climate change call for sustainable solutions.In order to reverse this trend, a practice proposed is to incorporate biomass from the surrounding environment into the soil, helping to make its organic matter content more stable. RDP support financed a series of activities, including research on the different types of biomass that can be used, a survey on the availability of local biomass supply, discussions with farmers, and the development of a feasibility study.

Project results: 

It is expected that 30 years of incorporating local biomass in the soil from the surrounding environment will lead to 2% more effective organic matter in plots with grassland and maize rotation, and up to 10% in fields with root vegetables (potatoes, beets).

Interviews with participating farmers show that the organic matter content of the soil in their land has remained stable, or slightly increased. The carrying capacity of soils has also increased.

The water retention in soils with a light texture and in sandy soils seems to be improving. There are indications that the leaching of nutrients to groundwater has decreased.