BENCHMARKS is a project that aims to develop a harmonized and cost-effective framework for measuring soil health across Europe. The project brings together a consortium of 29 partners with expertise in soil health science, policy, industry and social innovation, including citizen science approaches, to bridge the gap between science and policy/practice.
The project will involve developing a soil health index that uses indicators relevant to the objective ofassessment, applicable to different landuses, and logistically feasible. The framework will be tested in 24 Landscape Case Studies across multiple landuses including agriculture, forestry, and urban areas.
In Flevoland the indicators will be tested in an agricultural multi species system. At the city fridge of Almere lies a large On-farm experiment of strip cropping. This experiment is initiated by ERF BV and Stichting Hemus in 2020 and has a field size of 64 ha. At this site a system of growing crops in small strips of 6 meters is compared with a regular monocultural system. The monitoring is this experiment is done by Wageningen University. ERF BV experiments with strip cropping since 2015. The results show that strip cropping leads to less vulnerability of pest and diseases and increase of biodiversity. ERF has achieved in the strip cropping system an almost similar efficiency and at least the same yield as in the monocultural system.
- Crop rotation: Gras-clover; celeriac, Broccoli, oats, onions, Parsnip, fava beans and potatoes.
- Clay soil with 4-6% organic matter