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Innovative approaches for increasing the productivity of organic wheat and soybean varieties in the single-seed cropping system



The recorded yield gaps between organically and conventionally grown crops are highest in wheat, at > 50 %. However, a cause-effect understanding is crucial for measures to improve yields in climate change: How do differences arise between the achievable and the actually possible yields, and what conditions exist for high productivity in organic farming? Yield increases in combination with crop adaptation to climate change are necessary.

Promising preliminary studies have discovered a hitherto untapped yield potential (yield excluding competition for light & nutrients) in organic wheat varieties with 90-120 g grain/plant. Against this background, optimisation of stand distribution is necessary to systematically improve growth conditions and crop adaptation to climate change.


Planned innovation & aims

The innovation is

1. to introduce precision farming tools (precision seeding: wheat, soybean, uniform seeding) and

2. to establish a yield curve depending on the usable soil area/plant for wheat and soybean varieties.

The overall objective is to develop a precision seeding system with optimal stand distribution & productivity by avoiding counterproductive competition for light, nutrients & water. Measures to improve yields in climate change with suitable eco-varieties or variety types are to be presented.




Optimisation of stand distribution in the precision seeding system (EIKSA) using the example of organically bred wheat varieties & soybean varieties: Establishment of evenly distributed plants in the row (e.g. 25 x 5 cm = 80 plants/m2) or in a triangular or square formation at 16-100 plants/m2 with drill sowing as a control. Efficient weed reduction with 2D hoeing measures in square sowing (e.g. 15 x 15 cm). Using a yield curve (yield and area/plant), the minimum distance between plants required for high seed yields & the individual plant area requirement will be determined. The aim is to show how the area yield in the precision seeding system can be increased in the future and how the plants can be better adapted to climate change than is currently the case.

Establishment of a split-plot trial (7 seed varieties, 3 cultivars, 4 replicates with a total of 84 plots each 1.5 m x 12 m) on the LLH (Landesbetrieb Landwirtschaft Hessen, LLH) organic trial field in Ober-Erlenbach (dry location in the Wetterau in the S-Bahn area of Frankfurt). Single-grain sowing of 3 soybean varieties and then 3 wheat varieties with increasing seed densities and decreasing distances between plants.


Lead Partner

Justus-Liebig-University, Professorship of Organic Farming with focus on sustainable soil use

Dr. Ludger Linnemann

Eva Völker M.Sc.


Operational Group


Dr. Andreas Hammelehle (LLH)

Duration of the project


2021 bis 2024



Ökoaktionsplan Hessen (Umweltministerium)