19 January 2021
Intercropping for sustainability

Two-day Conference with AAB, DIVERSify and ReMIX at Reading University

6 September 2021
Organic World Congress 2021

New date! Postponed from September 2020

3 July 2020
Environmental Land Management: consultation reopens

Interactive online seminars throughout July

29 June 2020
Benefits and challenges of herbal or diverse leys

Opportunities for farmer involvement

29 April 2020
Tim Bennett is the new Chair of ORC

Former NFU president takes on chairmanship of Organic Research Centre


Full project title:

Farm-based organic variety trials network



Project code:


Contract period:

1 January 2020 to 31 December 2021

Project webpage:


Main funder:


Contact staff at ORC:

Dr. Ambrogio Costanzo

Other staff involved:

Dominic Amos, Dr Charlotte Bickler

Project aims

Building on the outcomes of the H2020 funded Liveseed project, the objectives of this project will be to:

  1. Establish a network of farmers and researchers, with broad stakeholders’ support, able to undertake on-farm experimentation and data collection to enable informed decision making for sustainable organic and low-input wheat production.
  2. Collect key data and information about crop growth and development on-farm, including its interaction with the weed community, and on crop production and product quality which is relevant to farmers and stakeholders along the supply chain, e.g. millers and bakers and animal feed market.
  3. Provide a detailed and robust statistical analysis of the data collected, integrating experimental data with external data sources, including research data and agro-environmental variables, to enable data-based decisional models developed to assist with farm business decisions.
  4. Ensure visibility of the projects, its methodology and its results, towards organic and non-organic farmers, stakeholders, scientific community, policy makers and the wider public.

ORC's role

This project will involve 10 to 15 organic farms and generate datasets describing winter wheat varieties in terms of field performance during the growing season, with special emphasis on weed abundance and community composition, diseases symptoms and key yield components, productive performance and quality performance.

In cooperation with the AHDB, these datasets will be analysed and compared with relevant external data sources, including climatic and environmental data, to scope out how to enhance the decision support basis available to organic and conventional farmers. This will also inform breeding of future varieties adapted to both organic and conventional systems where low fertility and high weed burdens are important factors. Beyond providing information for a better winter wheat varietal choice, the project will improve and standardise experimental designs and protocols for on-farm participatory trials. This will enhance know-how of on-farm, field-scale trials management and, ultimately, allow on-farm data to complement plot-scale research and environmental information towards an integrated evidence base for better informed decisions at the farm and supply chain level, as well as for plant breeding.

Project leader and partners

ORC (Coordinator)
Organic Arable (subcontractor)
AHDB (in-kind contribution)

Previous relevant work


All sources of funding

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs