Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment

M. Dachler, I. Kernmayer, H. Spiegel and M. Mazorek:

Results of extensification experiments on arable land in Austria


The influence of two intensity levels of nitrogen fertilization and pesticide regime on yield, quality and income from common large-field crops under different climatic conditions was investigated at two sites in Lower Austria for a period of nine years.

• Yields were generally lower at the extensive level.

• With respect to quality traits, the protein content was generally higher at the intensive level, and only there did wheat attain values needed for classification as “quality wheat”. Sugar content of sugar beets and fat content of rape were slightly higher at the extensive level.

• In general, higher proceeds (after deduction of treatment costs) were achieved at the dryer site with the intensive level and under more humid conditions with the extensive level. Leaving sugar beet out of consideration, the extensive level resulted in higher proceeds at both sites.

On the basis of relevant prices a reduction in the intensity level of nitrogen fertilization and pesticide regime is possible under the following conditions: Control of weeds can be achieved mechanically without the use of herbicides as long as no manual labor is required on a large, field-wide scale.

Nitrogen fertilization can be reduced as long as higher protein contents (especially in wheat) need not be attained.

Key words: extensification, nitrogen fertilization, pestizides, arable crops.