Research Station Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART, CH-8046 Zurich

EUROCROP: Research strategy for European arable farming

EUROCROP was a concerted action to develop a research strategy for European arable farming. Research institutes and various stakeholders drew up the main research priorities for individual arable crops and for six transversal elements: “farming systems”, “farm economics”, “outlets and markets”, “quality of agricultural products”, “environmental impacts” and “socio-economic issues”. The social relevance and priority of research goals were assessed on the basis of four future scenarios: “trade liberalisation”, “Europe of regions”, “green Europe” and “global warming”. Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART Research Station chaired the work group on environmental impacts. It was shown that the importance of conservation and the efficient use of the production resources energy, water, nutrients and soil will increase in future, with optimisation of the sustainability of cultivation systems and the nitrogen cycle being particularly important. Other issues relevant to the competitiveness of arable crops were prices, production costs as well as yield increase and stability. Adaptability to changing production conditions was deemed essential for the future, particularly in the case of plant protection. From the environmental point of view mention should also be made of issues like biodiversity, landscape ecology and protection of the aquatic environment, which have no direct relationship to productivity. Research priorities can turn out to be very different in different regions.

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