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Institute of

OF Organic Farming


Optimization of spring- and winter pea cultivation by intercropping and a reduced intensity of soil tillage

© Thünen-Institut / Herwart Böhm

Enhancement of value added in organically cultivated catch crops by the management opimisation of soil fertility

The agricultural advantages of mixed cultivation in low-input-systems are often demonstrated for the higher yield stability, a more effective weed suppression and a better use of the growth factors light, water and nutrients. We wanted to evaluate in the system of organic farming the mixed cropping especially under a simultaneous reduced intensity of soil cultivation in constricted crop rotations with grain legumes.

Background and Objective

Within the project, we evaluated the intercropping of spring or winter peas and cereals and we determined the suitability of shallow ploughing in organic pea cultivation. Another intent of this project was to investigate the impact of mechanical soil loading (0, 26, 45 kN rear wheel load) during seedbed preparation in deep (25-30 cm) and shallow ploughed (7-12 cm) soils on the performance of spring pea and oat sole or intercrops. The focus of our investigations was the weed development, yield performance and quality assessment of the harvested products, but also the impact of intercropping on the infestation with pea pests.


We conducted three-factorial field experiments with spring peas (2009, 2010) and two-factorial field experiments with two winter pea cultivars (E.F.B. 33: normal-leafed, coloured-flowered, James: semi-leafless, white-flowered, 2009/10, 2010/11) followed by a succeeding crop experiment (2010/11, 2011/12). The spring pea experiments were conducted similarly at Köllitsch (East Germany) and Trenthorst (Northern Germany), whereas we examined the intercropping of winter peas at the Trenthorst site.


In conclusion, in spite of a partially higher weed infestation, short-term shallow ploughing resulted in a comparable or better agronomic performance and grain quality of sole and intercropped peas. Shallow ploughing mitigated the risk of a decrease in pea performance caused by mechanical soil loading during sowing operations. Pea-cereal intercrops can nevertheless suppress weeds good - that is one of its advantages. In organic cultivation of peas with reduced tillage this effect is particularly effective.

Involved external Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • Bundesprogramm Ökologischer Landbau (BÖLN)
    (national, öffentlich)


8.2008 - 6.2013

More Information

Project funding number: 08OE009 sowie 2811OE085
Funding program: Bundesprogramm Ökologischer Landbau und andere Formen nachhaltiger Landwirtschaft (BÖLN)
Project status: finished


  1. 0

    Gronle A, Böhm H (2017) Erbsen flach gewendet. Bio Land(4):12-13

  2. 1

    Böhm H (2017) Legumes as mix partner make a perfect organic crop. In: Sammendrag : Plantekongres 2017 : 17.-18. Januar. Koebenhavn: Koebenhavns Universitet, pp 236-237

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    Gronle A, Böhm H (2017) Trumpf gegen Erbsenblattläuse. Bio Land(1):14-15

  4. 3

    Gronle A, Heß J, Böhm H (2015) Effect of intercropping normal-leafed or semi-leafless winter peas and triticale after shallow and deep ploughing on agronomic performance, grain quality and succeeding winter wheat yield. Field Crops Res 180:80-89, DOI:10.1016/j.fcr.2015.05.017

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    Gronle A, Lux G, Böhm H, Schmidtke K, Wild M, Demmel M, Brandhuber R, Wilbois KP, Heß J (2015) Effect of ploughing depth and mechanical soil loading on soil physical properties, weed infestation, yield performance and grain quality in sole and intercrops of pea and oat in organic farming. Soil Tillage Res 148:59-73, DOI:10.1016/j.still.2014.12.004

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    Gronle A, Heß J, Böhm H (2015) Weed suppressive ability in sole and intercrops of pea and oat and its interaction with ploughing depth and crop interference in organic farming. Organic Agric 5(1):39-51, DOI:10.1007/s13165-014-0095-x

  7. 6

    Gronle A, Böhm H, Heß J (2014) Effect of intercropping winter peas of differing leaf type and time of flowering on annual weed infestation in deep and shallow ploughed soils and on pea pests. Landbauforsch Appl Agric Forestry Res 64(1):31-44, DOI:10.3220/LBF_2014_31-44

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    Gronle A, Böhm H (2014) Untersuchungen zur Unkrautunterdrückung in Rein- und Mischfruchtbeständen von Wintererbsen unterschiedlichen Wuchstyps. Julius Kühn Arch 443:431-440, doi:10.5073/jka.2014.443.054

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    Wild M, Böhm H, Brandhuber R, Bruns C, Gronle A, Lux G, Schmidtke K, Demmel M (2013) Mechanische Bodenbelastung: Effekte auf Eigenschaften des Oberbodens und den Ertrag von Erbse in Reinsaat und im Gemenge. In: Neuhoff D, Stumm C, Ziegler S, Rahmann G, Hamm U, Köpke U (eds) Beiträge zur 12. Wissenschaftstagung Ökologischer Landbau : Ideal und Wirklichkeit: Perspektiven ökologischer Landbewirtschaftung . Berlin: Köster, pp 42-45

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    Gronle A, Böhm H (2013) Mehr Ertrag im Gemenge : Wintererbsen zur Auflockerung der Fruchtfolge. Landwirtsch Ohne Pflug(8):36-39

  11. 10

    Gronle A, Böhm H (2012) Kann ein Mischfruchtanbau von Erbsen und Getreide bei flachwendender Bearbeitung das im Vergleich zur tiefwendenden Bearbeitung vorhandene höhere Unkrautaufkommen im Ökologischen Landbau kompensieren? Julius Kühn Arch 434:243-249, doi:10.5073/jka.2012.434.030

  12. 11

    Gronle A, Böhm H (2012) Level and causes of weed control in organic pea cultivation via intercropping under varying ploughing depths. In: Stoddard FL (ed) 12th Congress of the European Society for Agronomy : abstracts ; Helsinki, Finland, 20-24 August 2012. Helsinki, pp 530-531

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    Gronle A, Böhm H (2012) Rein- und Mischfruchtanbau von Sommer- und Wintererbsen bei differenzierter Bodenbearbeitungstiefe im Ökologischen Anbau. Mitt Gesellsch Pflanzenbauwiss 24:

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    Gronle A, Böhm H (2011) Mischfruchtanbau von Wintererbsen mit Raps oder Triticale bei flach- oder tiefwendender Bodenbearbeitung. In: Leithold G, Becker K, Brock C, Fischinger S, Spiegel A-K, Spory K, Wilbois KP, Williges U (eds) Beiträge zur 11. Wissenschaftstagung Ökologischer Landbau : Es geht ums Ganze: Forschen im Dialog von Wissenschaft und Praxis : Bd. 1, Boden - Pflanze - Umwelt, Lebensmittel und Produktqualität. Berlin: Köster, pp 36-39

  15. 14

    Gronle A, Böhm H (2011) Unkrautaufkommen und Ertragsleistung beim Anbau von Sommererbsen in Reinsaat und im Gemenge mit Hafer bei flach- und tiefwendender Bodenbearbeitung. Landbauforsch SH 346:15-24

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