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Improving yields in organic cropping systems - Organic Yields Up

Funding: Horizon Europe, European Commission

Coordinator: Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL Europe)

Consortium partners: The Organic Yield Up project is supported by 17 partners from 12 European countries (11 EU + Switzerland)

Duration: February 2024 - February 2028

Improving yields in organic cropping systems

The Organic Yields Up project is a strategic response to the EU's goal of achieving 25% of agricultural land under organic cultivation by 2030. Recognizing the persistent yield gap between organic and conventional farming, the project focuses on compiling and evaluating existing knowledge, fostering stakeholder networking, and establishing a European-wide network of testing, experimentation, and demonstration sites (European Network of Living Labs for Increasing Yields in Organic Farming). These sites are strategically chosen to cover a representative range of pedoclimatic and structural conditions across Europe, providing a holistic understanding of organic farming dynamics. The inclusion of a diverse array of crops, both arable and perennial, is a deliberate move to mirror the rich tapestry of the European organic farming sector.

The project will contribute to the increase of organic farming yields comprehensively, covering diverse conditions and crops, while aligning with EU sustainability objectives, thus paving the way for a sustainable and resilient future where organic farming becomes a cornerstone of the European agriculture.

Project objectives

  • Generate data and knowledge on yields in organic cropping systems.

  • Evaluate the impact of strategies and approaches to improve organic yields through a European network of testing sites and assess the suitability and potential of these strategies for short- and medium-term sustainable improvement.

  • Provide recommendations for future research agendas and the development of EU policies.

  • Increase the availability and accessibility of information on enhancing yields in organic cropping systems.

The core elements of the project:

  1. Local Suitability Analysis: Analysing and reflecting on the suitability of yield-increasing approaches at various local sites with diverse pedoclimatic and structural conditions in Europe.

  2. Stakeholder Collaboration: Connecting actors from science and practice with access to pertinent data and knowledge on strategies to boost organic yields, fostering joint compilation, analysis, and reflection.

  3. Cross-Country Knowledge Sharing: Facilitating the exchange of insights on different yield strategies at the local level across countries, exploring their applicability and relevance for organic farmers throughout Europe.

  4. Research Topics and Legal Framework: Identifying and specifying research topics and advocating necessary adjustments to the European legal framework for organic production.

  5. Resource Utilization for Dissemination: Leveraging project partners' resources and activities to effectively disseminate project results and lay the groundwork for establishing a European Network of Living Labs for Increasing Yields in Organic Farming.

ÖMKi plays a vital role in the project, taking the lead in co-developing the network’s sustainability concept and action plan with all network partners. This collaborative effort is geared towards ensuring the prolonged success of the Network of Living Labs for Increasing Yields in Organic Farming beyond the project's lifetime. ÖMKi On-Farm Living Lab will also contribute to the shaping of this future European Network by being an active member with 10 other living labs.

Furthermore, ÖMKi spearheads the development of training materials and conducts workshops aimed at facilitating the establishment of the network. This includes reinforcing participatory practices, guiding network partners in stakeholder recruitment, engagement and assessing on-site networks for compliance with Living Lab requirements.

This dual focus on sustainability planning and training underscores ÖMKi's commitment to nurturing the enduring impact of the network, with an additional responsibility for updating the sustainability concept in the project's final months.

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