01 January
31 December 2022

150 years of the CRA-W perpetuate video capsule

60 years of experimentation to develop innovative Cropping Systems that meet the challenges of farmers and society

A long-term vision?

CRA-W aims to develop long-term experimentations (LTE). They make it possible to study the long-term technical, economic and environmental impacts of new agricultural practices. Or also to answer more global societal questions such as the role of agriculture in the mitigation or adaptation to climate change.

And concretely?

Long-term experiment translates concretely into the implementation of experimental platforms, whose size and lifespan can sometimes take on significant proportions. An example is the study of the management of organic matter in a field crop system, developed since 1959. At the time, in a context of maximisation of production and already a disconnection between animal and plant production, researchers wondered about the impact on yields and the soil of complete export of all organic matter (crop production and crop residues such as straw) without any compensatory input (manure, slurry, etc.).

The trial still exists and has been followed so far by successive generations of researchers who have made it possible to perpetuate and give several new lives to this experiment over time. Today, this experimental platform is a national and international reference for carbon sequestration in agricultural soils.

Other eras, other challenges...

Many long-term experiments are still implemented by CRA-W research teams. But the interest has changed and is now focused on other questions, such as: the impact of tillage, reduction in the use of phytosanitary products, organic farming and market gardening, greenhouse gas emissions, or even agroforestry.

Each time, the CRA-W makes a long-term commitment in order to be able to study processes and new balances that require a lot of time to set up. Teams of researchers follow one another on these experiments while perpetuating and consolidating the results and knowledge.

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