Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    European long-term field experiments : knowledge gained about alternative management practices
    Sandén, T. ; Spiegel, H. ; Stüger, H.P. ; Schlatter, N. ; Haslmayr, H.P. ; Zavattaro, L. ; Grignani, C. ; Bechini, L. ; D′Hose, T. ; Molendijk, L. ; Pecio, A. ; Jarosz, Z. ; Guzmán, G. ; Vanderlinden, K. ; Giráldez, J.V. ; Mallast, J. ; Berge, H. ten - \ 2018
    Soil Use and Management 34 (2018)2. - ISSN 0266-0032 - p. 167 - 176.
    alternative management practices - Europe - Long-term experiment - productivity - soil quality

    Alternative management practices such as no-tillage compared to conventional tillage are expected to recover or increase soil quality and productivity, even though all of these aspects are rarely studied together. Long-term field experiments (LTEs) enable analysis of alternative management practices over time. This study investigated a total of 251 European LTEs in which alternative management practices such as crop rotation, catch crops, cover crops/green manure, no-tillage, non-inversion tillage and organic fertilization were applied. Response ratios of indicators for soil quality, climate change and productivity between alternative and reference management practices were derived from a total of 260 publications. Both positive and negative effects of alternative management practices on the different indicators were shown and, as expected, no alternative management practice could comply with all objectives simultaneously. Productivity was hampered by non-inversion tillage, FYM amendments and incorporation of crop residues. SOC contents were increased significantly following organic fertilizers and non-inversion tillage. GHG emissions were increased by slurry application and incorporation of crop residues. Our study showed that alternative management practices beneficial to one group of indicators (e.g. organic fertilizers for biological soil quality indicators) are not necessarily beneficial to other indicators (e.g. increase of crop yields). We conclude that LTEs are valuable for finding ways forward in protecting European soils as well as finding evidence-based alternative management practices for the future; however, experiments should focus more on biological soil quality indicators as well as GHG emissions to enable better evaluation of trade-offs and mutual benefits of management practices.

    Adoption of non-inversion tillage across Europe : Use of a behavioural approach in understanding decision making of farmers
    Bijttebier, J. ; Ruysschaert, G. ; Hijbeek, R. ; Werner, M. ; Pronk, A.A. ; Zavattaro, L. ; Bechini, L. ; Grignani, C. ; Berge, H. ten; Marchand, F. ; Wauters, E. - \ 2018
    Land Use Policy 78 (2018). - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 460 - 471.
    Adoption - Behavioural change - Europe - Non-Inversion tillage - Theory of planned behavior

    Non-inversion tillage (NIT) is often recommended as a soil conservation measure, protecting soil structure and soil life and preventing erosion. As the adoption of this measure is still below policy targets in many European regions, this study aimed at gaining insights in constraints and drivers of implementing NIT to understand how to stimulate behavioural change. This study uses the theory of planned behaviour as a framework for understanding farmers’ decisions on applying NIT. This framework was applied in 8 case studies from 8 Farm Type Zones (FTZ) spread over 4 European countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy). We used a sequential mixed method, starting with qualitative semi-structured interviews followed by a quantitative survey. Our results show varying adoption rates ranging from 19% to more than 80% across the FTZs. There are large differences between FTZs and even more between countries regarding the number and nature of enabling and hampering factors identified. Although our results do reveal some widely acknowledged advantages and constraints (such as less labour/fuel needs and more weeds), several of them are restricted to one or only some of the FTZs. Some of the conditions favouring or discouraging NIT are related to biophysical characteristics of the FTZs. Besides these biophysical characteristics, agricultural specialization and especially the crops cultivated influence the decision whether or not to plough. Also timing of sowing and harvest of particular crops influences farmers’ perceptions on the ease or difficulty to apply NIT. Finally, cultural, political and socio-economic conditions of the regions are influencing adoption behaviour of the farmers, e.g. good results with ploughing, having nice-looking fields, availability of equipment, the existence of subsidies and the opinion of referents influence the decision whether or not to implement NIT in the singular FTZs. These insights in context-specific enabling and disabling conditions are helpful in defining targeted actions to stimulate adoption in a given region. This paper concludes with an overview of how the resulting insights in farmers’ behaviour might contribute in addressing effective intervention strategies to increase adoption of NIT.

    Responses of soil biota to non-inversion tillage and organic amendments : An analysis on European multiyear field experiments
    Hose, Tommy D'; Molendijk, Leendert ; Vooren, Laura Van; Berg, Wim van den; Hoek, Hans ; Runia, Willemien ; Evert, Frits van; Berge, Hein ten; Spiegel, Heide ; Sandèn, Taru ; Grignani, Carlo ; Ruysschaert, Greet - \ 2018
    Pedobiologia 66 (2018). - ISSN 0031-4056 - p. 18 - 28.
    Earthworms - Microbial biomass - Multiyear field experiments - Nematodes - Non-inversion tillage - Organic amendments
    Over the last two decades, there has been growing interest on the effects of agricultural practices on soil biology in Europe. As soil biota are known to fluctuate throughout the season and as agro-environmental conditions may influence the effect of agricultural practices on soil organisms, conclusions cannot be drawn from a single study. Therefore, integrating the results of many studies in order to identify general trends is required. The main objective of this study was to investigate how soil biota are affected by repeated applications of organic amendments (i.e. compost, farmyard manure and slurry) or reduced tillage (i.e. non-inversion tillage and no till) under European conditions, as measured in multiyear field experiments. Moreover, we investigated to what extent the effects on soil biota are controlled by soil texture, sampling depth, climate and duration of agricultural practice. Experimental data on earthworm and nematode abundance, microbial biomass carbon and bacterial and fungal communities from more than 60 European multiyear field experiments, comprising different climatic zones and soil texture classes, were extracted from literature. From our survey, we can conclude that adopting no tillage or non-inversion tillage practices and increasing organic matter inputs by organic fertilization were accompanied by larger earthworm numbers (an increase between 56 and 125% and between 63 and 151% for tillage and organic amendments, respectively) and biomass (an increase between 108 and 416% and between 66 and 196% for tillage and organic amendments, respectively), a higher microbial biomass carbon content (an increase between 10 and 30% and between 25 and 31% for tillage and organic amendments, respectively), a marked increase in bacterivorous nematodes (an increase between 19 and 282% for organic amendment) and bacterial phospholipid-derived fatty acids (PLFA; an increase between 31 and 38% for organic amendment). Results were rarely influenced by soil texture, climate and duration of practice.
    Stakeholder perceptions of manure treatment technologies in Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain
    Hou, Y. ; Velthof, G.L. ; Case, S.D.C. ; Oelofse, M. ; Grignani, C. ; Balsari, P. ; Zavattaro, L. ; Gioelli, F. ; Bernal, M.P. ; Fangueiro, D. ; Trindade, H. ; Jensen, L.S. ; Oenema, O. - \ 2018
    Journal of Cleaner Production 172 (2018). - ISSN 0959-6526 - p. 1620 - 1630.
    Acidification - Anaerobic digestion - Economic barriers - Environmental regulations - Separation - Survey

    Manure treatment technologies have been developed in Europe to better use animal manures and to reduce their environmental impact, but the adoption of these technologies in practice is regionally diverse and still limited. Also, little is known about the opinions of stakeholders towards manure treatment. This study aimed to identify stakeholder perceptions of (1) which factors can facilitate and hinder the implementation in practice, (2) which technologies have the most potential for successful adoption, and (3) how farm characteristics and scale of treatment operations affect priorities for technology adoption. This analysis used data from a survey of various stakeholders engaged in manure treatment in four European countries (Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain) that have large areas of high animal density, but diverse socio-economic, political and environmental conditions. Pressure from governmental regulations was perceived as a key factor that stimulated manure treatment in all four countries (70% of respondents). Processing manure to produce bioenergy was considered important in Denmark and Italy, but less important in Spain and the Netherlands. The major barriers to technology adoption were related to economic factors -lack of investment capital (60% of respondents), high processing cost (52%) and a long payback period (45%), while there was relatively little concern regarding transport and noise burden and health risks. Slurry separation and anaerobic digestion were perceived to have the greatest potential for a common adoption. Other preferred technologies were more country-specific (e.g. acidification in Denmark, composting in Spain, and drying and reverse osmosis in Netherlands). Manure treatment was considered to be less applicable at small livestock farms. Separation, composting and acidification were perceived to be more applicable at farm scale, while drying, anaerobic digestion, reverse osmosis at large, industrial scales. Our results imply that manure treatment will remain a regional activity. Policy measures and outreach strategies to alleviate the main barriers to the adoption of manure treatment are suggested.

    An assessment of policies affecting Sustainable Soil Management in Europe and selected member states
    Turpin, Nadine ; Berge, Hein ten; Grignani, Carlo ; Guzmán, Gema ; Vanderlinden, Karl ; Steinmann, Horst-Henning ; Siebielec, Grzegorz ; Spiegel, Adelheid ; Perret, Eric ; Ruysschaert, Greet ; Laguna, Ana ; Giráldez, Juan Vicente ; Werner, Magdalena ; Raschke, Isabell ; Zavattaro, Laura ; Costamagna, Chiara ; Schlatter, Norman ; Berthold, Helen ; Sandén, Taru ; Baumgarten, Andreas - \ 2017
    Land Use Policy 66 (2017). - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 241 - 249.
    This paper analyses soils-related policies in Europe and in selected member states and regions. Our approach breaks down policy packages at European, national and regional levels into strategic objectives, operational objectives, policy measures and expected impacts, and assesses the relationships between these elements and soil stakes. Four major policy packages, both at EU and national level (CAP-I, RDP, Environment, national initiatives) were analysed. A numerical scale was developed to quantify the level of “embeddedness” of soil stakes in these policy packages. We found that countries better embed soil stakes into their policies when they also put more efforts on environmental innovation. In turn, countries with a high embeddedness level, with high trust in European institutions and that make more efforts towards renewable energy, tend to propose a wider variety of management practices to farmers for dealing with soil stakes.
    Agronomic effects of bovine manure : A review of long-term European field experiments
    Zavattaro, Laura ; Bechini, Luca ; Grignani, Carlo ; Evert, Frits K. van; Mallast, Janine ; Spiegel, Heide ; Sandén, Taru ; Pecio, Alicja ; Giráldez Cervera, Juan Vicente ; Guzmán, Gema ; Vanderlinden, Karl ; Hose, Tommy D'; Ruysschaert, Greet ; Berge, Hein F.M. ten - \ 2017
    European Journal of Agronomy 90 (2017). - ISSN 1161-0301 - p. 127 - 138.
    Efficiency - Farmyard manure - Nitrogen - Response ratio - Slurry - Soil organic carbon

    To evaluate the agronomic value of animal manure, we quantified the effects of pedo-climatic, crop and management factors on crop productivity, N use efficiency, and soil organic matter, described with simple indicators that compare manures with mineral fertilizers. We selected 80 European long-term field experiments that used bovine farmyard manure or bovine liquid slurry, alone (FYM and SLU) or combined with mineral fertilizers (FYMm and SLUm), and compared them to mineral fertilizer only reference treatments. We collected 5570 measurements from 107 papers. FYM produced slightly lower crop yields (−9.5%) when used alone and higher (+11.3%) yields when used in combination with N fertilizer (FYMm), compared to those obtained using mineral fertilizers only. Conditions promoting manure-N mineralization (lighter soil texture, warmer temperature, longer growing season, and shallower incorporation depth) significantly increased the effect of FYM/FYMm on crop yield and yield N. The production efficiency of FYM (yield:N applied ratio) was slightly lower than that of mineral fertilizers (-1.6%). The apparent N recoveries of FYM and FYMm were 59.3% and 78.7%, respectively, of mineral fertilizers. Manured soils had significantly higher C (+32.9% on average for FYM and FYMm) and N (+21.5%) concentrations. Compared to mineral fertilizers, yield was reduced by 9.1% with SLU, but not with SLUm. Influencing factors were similar to those of FYM/FYMm. Efficiency indicators indicated SLU (but not SLUm) was less effective than mineral fertilizers. Slurry significantly increased SOC (on average for SLU and SLUm by +17.4%) and soil N (+15.7%) concentrations. In conclusion, compared to mineral N fertilizers, bovine farmyard manure and slurry were slightly less effective on the crop, but determined marked increases to SOC and soil N, and thus, to long-term soil fertility maintenance.

    Long-term effects of best management practices on crop yield and nitrogen surplus
    Zavattaro, Laura ; Costamagna, Chiara ; Grignani, Carlo ; Bechini, Luca ; Spiegel, Adelheid ; Lehtinen, Taru ; Guzmán, Gema ; Krüger, Janine ; D’Pose, Tommy ; Pecio, Alicja ; Evert, F.K. van; Berge, H.F.M. ten - \ 2015
    Italian Journal of Agronomy 10 (2015)1. - ISSN 1125-4718 - p. 47 - 50.
    Best management practice - Climate change - Cropping system - Nitrogen - Yield

    Inherent in the concept of good agricultural practice (BMP) is that it improves resource use efficiency, mitigates environmental impact or increases farm profitability. However, it is usually impossible to achieve all the objectives, and trade-offs need to be accepted, such as a reduction in productivity together with a reduction in costs or an increase of soil organic matter. A European FP7 project, Catch-C ( analyses the effects that different management practices have on productivity, mitigation of climate change and chemical, physical and biological soil fertility, based on simple indicators. Such indicators were collected from international literature, national scientific or technical journals, or grey literature that dealt with long-term field trials in Europe. We collected and analysed data from more than 350 experiments. This paper presents the overall results of the effects of a series of BMP have on crop productivity, soil nitrogen (N) uptake, N use efficiency end N balance. Important interactions with soil and climate types, crop and duration of the experiment were noticed for most BMPs. Rotations, also including double cropping, were among practices with more positive effects of productivity and N indicators. A slight reduction of yield counteracted benefits to soil quality and to climate change mitigation of minimum and no tillage, and of organic fertilisers.

    List of drivers and barriers governing soil management by farmers, including cost aspects : D4.434
    Pronk, A.A. ; Bijttebier, J. ; Berge, H.F.M. ten; Ruysschaert, G. ; Hijbeek, R. ; Rijk, B. ; Werner, J.M. ; Raschke, I. ; Steinmann, H.H. ; Zylowska, K. ; Schlatter, N. ; Guzman, G. ; Syp, A. ; Bechini, L. ; Turpin, N. ; Guiffant, N. ; Perret, E. ; Mauhé, N. ; Toqué, C. ; Zavattaro, L. ; Costamagna, C. ; Grignani, C. ; Lehninen, T. ; Baumgarten, A. ; Spiegel, H. ; Portero, A. ; Walleghem, T. Van; Pedrera, A. ; Laguna, A. ; Vanderlinden, K. ; Giráldez, V. ; Verhagen, A. - \ 2015
    {Wageningen] : Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek (DLO) - 180
    Farmers review of Best Management Practices: drivers and barriers as seen by adopters and non-adopters : Report D4.422
    Bijttebier, J. ; Ruysschaert, G. ; Hijbeek, R. ; Rijk, B. ; Werner, M. ; Raschke, I. ; Steinmann, H.H. ; Zylowska, K. ; Pronk, A. ; Schlatter, N. ; Guzmán, G. ; Syp, A. ; Bechini, L. ; Turpin, N. ; Guiffant, N. ; Perret, E. ; Mauhé, N. ; Toqué, C. ; Zavattaro, L. ; Costamagna, C. ; Grignani, C. ; Lehninen, T. ; Baumgarten, A. ; Spiegel, H. ; Portero, A. ; Walleghem, T. Van; Pedrera, A. ; Laguna, A. ; Vanderlinden, K. ; Giráldez, V. - \ 2015
    CATCH-C (Report D4.422 and D4.443 ) - 171 p.
    Assessing farmers’ intention to adopt best management practices across eight European countries
    Effect of temporal resolution on N2O emission inventories in the Dutch fen meadow landscape
    Nol, L. - \ 2009
    In: Proceedings of the 16th Nitrogen workshop: Connecting different scales of nitrogen use in agriculture, Turin, Italy, 28 June - 1 July 2009. - Galliate (NO), Italy : Tipografia Fiordo s.r.l. - p. 545 - 546.
    N management strategies on Dutch dairy farms in relation to ammonia losses
    Sonneveld, M.P.W. ; Bos, J.F.F.P. - \ 2009
    In: Proceedings of the 16th Nitrogen Workshop: Connecting different scales of nitrogen use in agriculture, Turin, Italy, 28 June - 1 July 2009. - Turin, Italy : University of Turin - p. 499 - 500.
    Pig slurry treatment modifies slurry composition, N2O, and CO2 emissions after soil incorporation
    Bertora, C. ; Alluvione, F. ; Zavattaro, L. ; Groenigen, J.W. van; Velthof, G.L. ; Grignani, C. - \ 2008
    Soil Biology and Biochemistry 40 (2008)8. - ISSN 0038-0717 - p. 1999 - 2006.
    nitrous-oxide emission - microbial biomass carbon - 2 grassland soils - cattle slurry - ammonia volatilization - anaerobic-digestion - agricultural soils - methane emissions - livestock slurry - organic-carbon
    The treatment of manures may improve their agricultural value and environmental quality, for instance with regards to greenhouse gases mitigation and enhancement of carbon (C) sequestration. The present study verified whether different pig slurry treatments (i.e. solid/liquid separation and anaerobic digestion) changed slurry composition. The effect of the slurry composition on N2O and CO2 emissions, denitrification and soil mineral nitrogen (N), after soil incorporation, was also examined during a 58-day mesocosm study. The treatments included a non-treated pig slurry (NT), the solid fraction (SF), and the liquid fraction (LF) of a pig slurry and the anaerobically digested liquid fraction (DG). Finally, a non-fertilized (N0) and a treatment with urea (UR) were also present. The N2O emissions measured represented 4.8%, 2.6%, 1.8%, 1.0% and 0.9% of N supplied with slurry/fertilizer for NT, LF, DG, SF and UR, respectively. Cumulative CO2 emissions ranged from 0.40 g CO2-C kg¿1 soil (0.38 Mg CO2-C ha¿1) to 0.80 g CO2-C kg¿1 soil (0.75 Mg CO2-C ha¿1). They were highest for SF (56% of C applied), followed by NT (189% of C applied), LF (337% of C applied) and DG (321% of C applied). Ammonium was detected in the soil for all treatments only at day one, while nitrate concentration increased linearly from day 15 to day 58, at a rate independent of the type of slurry/fertilizer applied. The nitrate recovery at day 58 was 39% of the N applied for NT, 19% for SF, 52% for LF, 67% for DG, and 41% for UR. The solid fraction generally produced higher potential denitrification fluxes (75.3 for SF, 56.7 for NT, 53.6 for LF, 47.7 for DG and 39.7 mg N2O + N2-N kg¿1 soil for UR). The high variability of actual denitrification results obfuscated any treatment effect. We conclude that treatment strongly affects slurry composition (mainly its C, fibre and NH4+ content), and hence N2O and CO2 emission patterns as well as denitrification processes and nitrate availability. In particular, the solid fraction obtained after mechanical separation produced the most pronounced difference, while the liquid fraction and the anaerobically digested liquid fraction did not show significant difference with respect to the original slurry for any of the measured parameters. Combining data from the different fractions we showed that separation of slurry leads to reduced N2O emissions, irrespective of whether the liquid fraction is digested or not. Furthermore, our results suggested that the default emission factor for N2O emissions inventory is too low for both the non-treated pig slurry and its liquid fraction (digested or not), and too high for the separated solid fraction and urea
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