Is the productivity of organic farms restricted by the supply of available nitrogen?

P. M. Berry, R. Sylvester-Bradley, L. Philipps, D. J. Hatch, S. P. Cuttle, F. W. Rayns, Paul Gosling

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    287 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper reviews information from the literature and case studies to investigate whether productivity in organic systems is restricted by the supply of available N during the major phases of crop growth. Organic systems have the potential to supply adequate amounts of available N to meet crop demand through the incorporation of leys, N rich cash crop residues and uncomposted manures. However, this is seldom achieved because leys are only incorporated once every few years and organically produced crop residues and manures tend to have low N contents and slow mineralization rates. N availability could be improved by delaying ley incorporation until spring, applying uncomposted manures at the start of spring growth, transferring some manure applications from the ley phase to arable crops, preventing cover crops from reaching a wide C:N ratio and better matching crop type with the dynamics of N availability.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)248-255
    Number of pages8
    JournalSoil Use and Management
    Issue numberSUPPL.
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2002


    • Availability
    • Mineralization
    • Nitrogen
    • Organic farms
    • Rotations
    • Sustainability

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Agronomy and Crop Science
    • Soil Science
    • Pollution


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