DOK-Trial

Local identifier
DOK-Versuch
Years operational
1978—
Objective
Since 1978, biodynamic (D), organic (O) and conventional (K for German: "konventionell") production of arable crops such as wheat, potatoes, maize, soya and grass-clover leys has been compared at the same site in a practice-oriented trial design. In addition there is a stockless, non-organic variant receiving mineral fertilizer only (M). At the outset of the trial the aim was to clarify whether organic arable farming is feasible at all given natural pressures from weeds, pests and diseases and whether it would produce sufficient yields. The results showed that good, high-quality yields can indeed be achieved. Since the mid-1990s the focus has been on questions relating to sustainable farming, soil quality, and product quality. Fertile soil is the basis of all agricultural production. A number of research teams therefore aim at understanding the ecological processes taking place in the soil, at the soil surface, and above the surface within the model system that is the DOK Trial.
Description
The trial site is located in the Leimen valley near Basel, Switzerland. The experiment has a randomized split-split-plot design with four field replicates. Every year, three crops of the seven-year crop rotation are grown side-by-side at two fertilization intensities each (D1, D2, O1, O2, K1, K2). In addition to the conventional treatment M which only receives mineral fertilizer (only at level 2 fertilization intensity), one treatment (N) has received no fertilizer at all since the beginning of the trial. Since 1991 the level 2 fertilization intensity, a level customarily used by farmers, corresponds to 1.4 LU/ha in all systems while level 1 corresponds to 0.7 LU/ha. Since 1985 the treatments K1, K2 and M have been managed in accordance with the requirements of integrated production. The cropping systems being compared in the trial differ primarily in terms of fertilizer usage and plant protection, while crop rotations, soil cultivation and choice of cultivars are the same across all treatments.
Data Access Statement
Available to collaborators only
Data Access Notes
Data and archived samples are available to researchers on request (archived samples: depending on the amount required) and in collaboration with the data owners, provided there are no conflicts of interest with existing users.
Data license
Don't know
Data policy
Don't know
Organizations
Research Institute of Organic Agriculture
research organisation
 +41 62 865 72 72
Agroscope
research organisation
 +41 58 468 71 11
 +41 58 468 72 01
People
Dr. Paul Mäder
principal investigator
Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Ackerstrasse 113, P.O. Box 219, 5070 Frick, Switzerland
Department of Soil Sciences
Dr. Jochen Mayer
principal investigator
Agroscope, Reckenholzstrasse 191, 8046 Zürich, Switzerland
Water Protection and Substance Flows

Site: Therwil, Switzerland

Local code
Birsmattehof
Location
Arlesheim
Basel-Landschaft
Switzerland
Geographic location
47.502527, 7.539366
© OpenStreetMap contributors
Elevation
303 Metres
Slope
Visits permitted?
Yes
Visiting arrangements
Visits are possible for professionals after arrangement by email or telephone.
Management
organic with special permissions for conventional treatments on this site
Soil type
luvisol
Soil description
The soil is a haplic luvisol on deposits of alluvial loess.
Climatic type
temperate oceanic climate
Climate description
Averaged over 5 years (2014-2019), the mean annual temperature at the site was 10.5°C, and the mean annual precipitation was 890 mm.

Design period: Ongoing

Design Type
Split split plot
Description
Since 1978, biodynamic (D), organic (O) and conventional (K for German: "konventionell") production of arable crops such as wheat, potatoes, maize, soya and grass-clover leys has been compared at the same site in a practice-oriented trial design. In addition there is a stockless, non-organic variant receiving mineral fertilizer only (M).
Design description
The experiment has a randomized split-split-plot design with four field replicates. Every year, three crops of the seven-year crop rotation are grown side-by-side at two fertilization intensities each (D1, D2, O1, O2, K1, K2). In addition to the conventional treatment M which only receives mineral fertilizer (only at level 2 fertilization intensity), one treatment (N) has received no fertilizer at all since the beginning of the trial. There are thus a total of 96 plots, each plot being 100m² (5m x 20m) in size. Since 1991 the level 2 fertilization intensity, a level customarily used by farmers, corresponds to 1.4 LU/ha in all systems while level 1 corresponds to 0.7 LU/ha. Since 1985 the treatments K1, K2 and M have been managed in accordance with the requirements of integrated production.
Number of replicates
4
Crops
CropYears grown
potatoes
cover crop
winter wheat
cabbages
barley
grass clover leys
beetroot
soybeans
maize
Crop Rotations
1st crop rotation  1978—1984
  • 1
    potatoes
    cover crop
  • 2
    winter wheat
    cover crop
  • 3
    cabbages
  • 4
    winter wheat
  • 5
    barley
  • 6
    grass clover leys
  • 7
    grass clover leys
2nd crop rotation  1985—1991
  • 1
    potatoes
    cover crop
  • 2
    winter wheat
    cover crop
  • 3
    beetroot
  • 4
    winter wheat
  • 5
    barley
  • 6
    grass clover leys
  • 7
    grass clover leys
3rd crop rotation  1992—1998
  • 1
    potatoes
  • 2
    winter wheat
    cover crop
  • 3
    beetroot
  • 4
    winter wheat
  • 5
    grass clover leys
  • 6
    grass clover leys
  • 7
    grass clover leys
4th crop rotation  1999—2005
  • 1
    potatoes
  • 2
    winter wheat
    cover crop
  • 3
    soybeans
    cover crop
  • 4
    maize
  • 5
    winter wheat
  • 6
    grass clover leys
  • 7
    grass clover leys
5th crop rotation  2006—2010
  • 1
    maize
  • 2
    winter wheat
    cover crop
  • 3
    soybeans
    cover crop
  • 4
    potatoes
  • 5
    winter wheat
  • 6
    grass clover leys
  • 7
    grass clover leys
6th crop rotation  2013—
  • 1
    maize
    cover crop
  • 2
    soybeans
  • 3
    winter wheat
    cover crop
  • 4
    potatoes
  • 5
    winter wheat
  • 6
    grass clover leys
  • 7
    grass clover leys
Factors
Factor name
Factor levels
fertilizer exposure
without fertilization  (0 )
inorganic fertilizers
organic fertilizer
plant protection
organic plant protection
conventional plant protection
Biodynamic preparations
With biodynamic preparations
Without biodynamic preparations
Factor combinations
D0
sometimes also called "N"
fertilizer exposure: without fertilization
plant protection: organic plant protection
Biodynamic preparations: With biodynamic preparations
M
sometimes also called M2
fertilizer exposure: inorganic fertilizers
plant protection: conventional plant protection
Biodynamic preparations: -
D1
fertilization amount corresponds to 0.7 LU/ha
fertilizer exposure: organic fertilizer
plant protection: organic plant protection
Biodynamic preparations: With biodynamic preparations
D2
fertilization amount corresponds to 1.4 LU/ha
fertilizer exposure: organic fertilizer
plant protection: organic plant protection
Biodynamic preparations: With biodynamic preparations
O1
fertilization amount corresponds to 0.7 LU/ha
fertilizer exposure: organic fertilizer
plant protection: organic plant protection
Biodynamic preparations: Without biodynamic preparations
O2
fertilization amount corresponds to 1.4 LU/ha
fertilizer exposure: organic fertilizer
plant protection: organic plant protection
Biodynamic preparations: Without biodynamic preparations
K1
Conventional with 0.5 standard fertilization
fertilizer exposure: inorganic fertilizers
plant protection: conventional plant protection
Biodynamic preparations: Without biodynamic preparations
Conventional with 1.0 standard fertilization
Conventional with 1.0 standard fertilization
fertilizer exposure: inorganic fertilizers
plant protection: conventional plant protection
Biodynamic preparations: With biodynamic preparations
Measurements
VariableMaterialUnitsFrequencyScaleComment
yield componentsAll crops
soil organic matterSoil
pHSoil
microbial diversitySoil
Mycorrhizal diversity and functionalitySoil
Greenhouse gas emissionsSoil
carbon fluxesSoil

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