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Modeling the potential benefits of catch-crop introduction in fodder crop rotations in a Western Europe landscape

Abstract : Among possible mitigation options to reduce agricultural-borne nitrate fluxes to water bodies, introduction of catch crop before spring crops is acknowledged as a cost-efficient solution at the plot scale, but it was rarely assessed at the catchment level. This study aims to evaluate a set of catch crop implantation scenarios and their consequences in a coastal catchment prone to eutrophication. The objectives are (i) to discuss the potential benefits of catch crop introduction taking into account the limitations due to the physiographic and agricultural context of the area (ii) to propose a multicriteria classification of these scenarios as a basis for discussion with stakeholders. We used the distributed agro-hydrological model TNT2 to simulate 25 scenarios of catch crop management, differing in length of catch crop growing period, place in the crop rotation and residue management. The scenarios were classified considering the variations in main crop yields and either nitrogen fluxes in stream or the global nitrogen mass balance at the catchment level. The simulations showed that in the catchment studied, little improvement can be expected from increasing the catch crop surface. Catch crop cultivation was always beneficial to reduce nitrogen losses, but led to adverse effects on main crop yields in some cases. Among the scenarios involving additional catch crop surface, introducing catch crop between two winter cereals appeared as the most promising. The classification of scenarios depended on the chosen criteria: when considering only the reduction of nitrogen fluxes in streams, exporting catch crop residues was the most efficient while when considering the global nitrogen mass balance, soil incorporation of catch crop residues was the most beneficial. This work highlights the interest, while using integrated models, of assessing simulated scenarios with multicriteria approach to provide stakeholder with a picture as complete as possible of the consequences of prospective policies.
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Contributor : Véronique Masson <>
Submitted on : Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 3:44:59 PM
Last modification on : Monday, October 19, 2020 - 10:57:00 AM



Pierre Moreau, Laurent Ruiz, Thierry Raimbault, Françoise Vertès, Marie-Odile Cordier, et al.. Modeling the potential benefits of catch-crop introduction in fodder crop rotations in a Western Europe landscape. Science of the Total Environment, Elsevier, 2012, 437, pp.276-284. ⟨10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.07.091⟩. ⟨hal-00767910⟩



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