- Increases land equivalent ratio (LER; i.e. the relative land area required under soil cropping to produce the same yield as under intercropping).
- Reduces the need for pesticides by suppressing weed, pest and soil-borne pathogens, while promoting beneficial species.
- Reduces the need for fertilizers by improving soil health and increasing below ground diversity and functionality.
- Keeps soil element cycles tight and close nutrient gaps.
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
- Improves the resilience of cropping systems to climate variability
To test these hypotheses, we will investigate the effects intercropping has on
- crop yield (quantity and quality),
- soil health and functionality,
- composition and functionality of the soil microbiome,
- pests and diseases, and
- greenhouse gas emissions.
To address these questions, we will collect data from seven research field trials across Europe.