Diverse legume mixtures in a plot trial
at the Weeze site in July 2022

Decentralised Diagnostic Diversification Tool: Strategies for the selection and optimisation of site-adapted multifunctional legume mixtures (D3INST)

Forage legumes, such as red clover, sainfoin and black medic, may provide a wide range of ecosystem services.

The main beneficiaries of these important contributions of forage legumes are the subsequent crops on organically farmed land. These include the resource-saving supply of nitrogen fixed from the air to the soil, the promotion of soil fertility and the contribution to the regulation of weeds.

Various legume mixtures in the trial
Various legume mixtures in the trial © Lauren Schmitz
Incarnate clover
Incarnate clover © Lauren Schmitz

Project goals

The overarching aim of the proposed D3INST project is to develop a practical diagnostic tool for the farm- and site-specific adaptation, diversification and optimisation of species mixtures with forage legumes in order to sustainably strengthen the grass-clover ley phase as a core element of organic crop rotations. The development is based on three years of staggered field trials in the Rhineland. Various mixtures of legumes and grasses are being investigated with regard to agronomic aspects and selected ecosystem services. The mixtures are adapted and optimised using comprehensive evaluation methods. The aim is to develop optimally site-adapted mixtures and to test these in field trials in order to incorporate well-founded recommendations for practice into the diagnostic tool.

Acronym: D3INST
Duration: 01.08.2021 ­- 31.10.2024
Funding code: 2818EPS012

Project in the Protein Crop Strategy funding programme within the framework of the Federal Organic Farming and Other Forms of Sustainable Agriculture (BÖLN) programme of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), supervised by the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE), www.ble.de


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Lauren Schmitz



Auf dem Hügel 14

53121 Bonn

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Prof. Dr. Thomas Döring

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