Annual Cropping – Flakkebjerg (Denmark) - The Workshop blogpost
Spring and summer are busy times in agriculture, but thanks to unexpected rains in early April we were able to gather a fantastic group of farmers from East Denmark for a small workshop in Flakkebjerg! We joined forces with the EJP Soil project SoilX, which is searching for ways to mitigate the effects of extreme precipitation and drought made worse by climate change. Our participants had a chance to network with each other over dinner, got a brief introduction to the DPSIR methodology for studying complex issues such as soil health, and had a very interesting discussion in a focus group setting. They reflected on the latest trends in arable farming in East Denmark, the challenges that motivated them to try new things in their fields and the drivers for and against change. Among many other topics, we heard their points of view on tillage, agrochemicals and the traditional intensive cropping paradigm in Denmark, as well as their hopes and worries about future agricultural and environmental regulations and the economy of their farms.
Denmark has a long history as an agricultural producer, and today over 60% of the land surface of the country is devoted to agriculture. In East Denmark, farming is dominated by intensive arable farming with lots of annual cereals. Frequent tillage with ever larger machinery and fast-acting fertilizers with low carbon content have contributed to a steady degradation of the soil for decades, but more and more farmers nowadays are getting interested in soil health, the biology of the soil and alternative techniques that can bring health and life back to their soils while helping them save time and money.
As a follow-up from this workshop, we will be discussing what we learned from our group of farmers with farmer’s advisors and government authorities, the two other key stakeholder groups in the agricultural industry of Denmark. We will hopefully learn a lot more about the main opportunities and challenges that lie ahead on the road to healthier soils in East Denmark and many the other regions in Europe where the situation is similar.