• Renske Hijbeek
  • A Pronk
  • Martin K Van Ittersum
  • A. Verhagen
  • Greet Ruysschaert
  • L. Zavattarod
  • L. Bechinie
  • N. Schlatterf
  • H.F.M. ten Bergeb

Bekijk grafiek van relaties

Soil organic matter (SOM) in agricultural soils builds up via – among others - the use of organic inputs such as
straw, compost, farmyard manure or the cultivation of green manures or cover crops. SOM has benefits for longterm
soil fertility and can provide ecosystem services. Farmer behaviour is however known to be motivated by a
larger number of factors. Using the theory of planned behaviour, we aimed to disentangle these factors. We
addressed the following research question: What are currently the main drivers and barriers for arable farmers in
Europe to use organic inputs?
Our study focuses on six agro-ecological zones in four European countries (Austria, Flanders [Belgium], Italy
and the Netherlands) and four practices (straw incorporation, green manure or cover crops, compost and
farmyard manure). In a first step, relevant factors were identified for each practice with farmers using 5 to ten
semi-structured interviews per agro-ecological zone. In a second step, the relevance of these factors was
quantified and they were classified as either drivers or barriers in a large scale farm survey with 1263 farmers.
In the semi-structured interviews, 110 factors that influenced farmer decisions to use an organic input were
identified. In the larger farm survey, 60% of the factors included were evaluated as drivers, while 40% were
evaluated as barriers for the use of organic inputs. Major drivers to use organic inputs were related to the
perceived effects on soil quality (such as improved soil structure or reduced erosion) and the positive influence
from social referents (such as fellow farmers or agricultural advisors). Major barriers to use organic inputs were
financial (increased costs or foregone income) and perceived effects on crop protection (such as increased weeds,
pests and diseases, or increased pesticide use).
Our study shows that motivating farmers to use organic inputs requires specific guidance on how to adapt
cultivation practices to reduce weeds, pests and diseases for specific soil types, weather conditions, and crops. In
addition, more research is needed on the long-term financial consequences of using organic inputs.
Originele taal-2Engels
TijdschriftAgriculture Ecosystems & Environment
Volume275
Pagina's (van-tot)42–53
Aantal pagina's12
ISSN0167-8809
StatusGepubliceerd - 2019

ID: 6808275