Study Site Trials 

 The SICS selected for trialling in this Study Site are described below:

Country General Treatment Category Study Site Trials
France Cover crops, sowing management, tillage

1. Early sowing of wheat (August vs September vs end of October) (2019)

2. Cover crops (oat vs mixed) (2019, 2020)

3. Maize direct sowing (2019)

4. Cover crops interseeded between maize (2020)

 

Study Site poster 2018, Study Site poster 2019

Wheatearlysowing CoverCrops
 Early sowing of wheat  Cover crops

 

The Study Site consists of 2 areas in Brittany, namely the Semnon catchment area and the Linon catchment area. These areas are presented separately below.

External drivers and factors in Brittany

In 1964, France established a water management by catchment areas with the first water law. This management by catchment areas is then reaffirmed by the European Framework Directive on “Water 2000” which requires all its member states in order to achieve good ecological status of waters by 2015. Catchment areas are coherent territories recognized by French and European laws.

Societal drivers

The western part of France (Brittany, Pays de la Loire, Normandie) is a traditional dairy area. Large dairy companies are located in this area. Organic farming and alternative growing methods have been growing much for 10 years, driven by societal demand.

Bio-physical drivers
Annual climate hazards, due to climate change, are becoming stronger. This is a major problem for the cattle management, because food autonomy is threatened. Farms have to be more resilient to climate hazards. They are developing new approaches: innovative crops, new grass management methods.

Semnon catchment area 

Geographical description

Semnon catchment area is localized in the south of Ille-et-Vilaine department, in the eastern part of Brittany. Its size is around 495 km² and 26000 hectares of total cultivated area. Semnon river is 73 km long. The geology of the area is quite homogeneous. It consists of alternating 2 types of schists, among which are intercalated sandstone and sandstone foundations.

The Semnon catchment descends west to its confluence with the Vilaine river, where its altitude is about ten meters. Its maximum altitude is about 100 meters, in the south-eastern part. The Semnon catchment is subject to an oceanic climate, with a gradient to a continental climate in the eastern part, with result in less continuous rains than in coastal areas.

Pedo-climatic zone
Lusitanian/ Atlantic Central, Cambisol

Cropping systems

Cropping intensity
Semnon catchment area has 434 farms and it is mainly a dairy area. There are 18 organic farms on the area. FRAB and his local partner Agrobio35 are working on soils with more or less 12 farms in this area (organic and conventional)

Types of crop
Wheat, maize and grassland: the territory has mainly traditional dairy systems, grassland systems and maize based systems. Most of the farms of the territory grows cereals too. There are also some orchards.

Management of soil, water, nutrients and pests
There is no irrigation in this area. Management of soils and nutrients depends of the farms, whether they are in conventional or organic farming. GAB-FRAB network is trying to promote organic methods, as organic fertilisation, mechanical weeding, rotations…

Soil improving cropping system and techniques currently used
Biological pest management, green manure, organic fertilisers

Problems that cause yield loss or increased costs
Compaction, weeds, loss of soil fertility

Linon catchment area

Geographical description

The Linon catchment area is localized in the north of the Ille-et-Vilaine county, in the eastern part of Brittany. Its size is around 304 km² and about 20,000 hectares of total cultivated area. The Linon river is 33 km long. The geology of the area is quite heterogeneous comprising of alternating brioverian schists, silt and granite subsoil.

The Linon catchment descends east to its confluence with the Rance river, where its altitude is about 10 meters. Its maximum altitude is about 175 meters, in the south and east part. The Linon catchment is subject to an oceanic climate, with an average of 750 mm rainfall per year.

Pedo-climatic zone
Lusitanian/ Atlantic Central, Cambisol

Cropping systems

Cropping intensity

The Linon catchment area has 413 farms and it is mainly a dairy area. There are 18 farms turned to organic production in the area (2017). FRAB and his local partner Agrobio35 are working on soils with more or less 15 farms in this area (organic and conventional).

Types of crop

Wheat, maize and grassland: the territory has mainly traditional dairy systems, grassland systems and maize based systems. Grasslands are particularly important in the north-east and south-west parts of the area, whereas a central part is dominated by crops (maize and wheat).

Management of soil, water, nutrients and pests
There is no irrigation in this area. Management of soils and nutrients depends of the farms, whether they are in conventional or organic farming. GAB-FRAB network is trying to promote organic methods, as organic fertilisation, mechanical weeding, rotations.

Soil improving cropping system and techniques currently used
Biological pest management, green manure, organic fertilisers.

Problems that cause yield loss or increased costs
Compaction, weeds, loss of soil fertility.