01 January
31 December 2022

150 years of the CRA-W produce video capsule

Produce and evolve: from horse to robot, precision mechanisation and production methods for greater efficiency, profitability and respect for the environment

Field crop production: the core research of CRA-W

Field crop production has been at the heart of CRA-W's research since its foundation in 1872. Originating from the University of Giessen in Germany, where Justus Von Liebig had demonstrated that plant nutrition was in the form of mineral elements, Arthur Petermann was called upon in 1872 by the Belgian Government to found and direct the first agricultural station of the State, at the origin of CRA-W.  

Its work would focus on the analysis of soils, plants and fertilising materials; in particular for phosphates, he was the initiator of legislation on their marketing.

Result ?

For 100 years, research continues to improve the productivity of field crops (cereals, beets, potatoes, etc.), focusing on mineral fertilisation, crop protection, selection and varietal evaluation as well as mechanisation. For example, the yield of cereals has increased from 2.5 t/ha to 10 t/ha.

Oil shock and questioning

The first oil shock of 1973 shook the planet and agriculture.

Had we gone too far in terms of the use of agricultural inputs? The Centre for Agricultural Research reacted! And very quickly integrated the environmental dimension into its research with:

  • reducing the use of synthetic fertilisers with the return of organic matter to the soil, agricultural by-products and the integration of cover crops .
  • support for the development of more efficient varieties
  • development of an original method of controlling sprayers
  • more recently: the study of non-chemical weeding and the integration of digital agriculture into farms to reduce the use of PPPs.

Knowledge transfer to farmers

The centre also plays an essential role in supporting farmers, as evidenced by its many popular articles and its collaborations with extension organisations. The White Paper, dedicated to cereal production, is also an unmissable annual event where researchers exchange directly with farmers.

On the same subject

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