Case study 17: Belgium: Grain legumes intercropping with cereals

Cluster 4: Diversification through intercropping, with a special focus on grain legumes

The goal is to decrease the import of legumes by increasing its production in Belgium. Further reasons are to improve diversification and reduce the use of chemical nitrogen fertilizers.
There is also a consciousness of the advantages with improved protein content in wheat when intercropping with pea, which is a component in the decision of working with intercropping.
Much is known at the agronomic level, such as that intercropping with winter pea and winter wheat is working well. Further focus lies now on the logistics, post-harvest and also possible sociological barriers.

What are the main problems underlying the emergence of the case study?
The goal is to decrease the import of legumes by increasing its production in Belgium. Further reasons are to improve diversification and reduce the use of chemical nitrogen fertilizers.
There is also a consciousness of the advantages with improved protein content in wheat when intercropping with pea, which is a component in the decision of working with intercropping.
Much is known at the agronomic level, such as intercropping with winter pea and winter wheat is working well. It remains challenging to determine the position of the intercropping in the agronomical rotations. Further focus now lies on the logistics, post-harvest, and also, possible sociological barriers.

How is the problem addressed and which actors are involved?
In this specific case study, the intention is to focus on logistic issues post-harvest, and also, on sociological barriers. For this aim, Wal.Agri has worked with the Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège, in field experiments since 2012 and has undergone farmer’s field tests since 2016 with the intercropping of winter pea and winter wheat. CRA is involved with problems addressing logistics and social science. Wal.Agri interacts with farmers in their research and development work.

Solution investigated
Adapted sowing, harvesting, and sorting machinery.

Expected outcome
The two main goals of this project are to increase the leguminous production in Belgium and increase the protein content in low-input systems. Other expectations are to solve barriers and lock-ins concerning post-harvest and sociological issues.

Relevance to the DiverIMPACTS goals?
One important goal is to be a part of the structure of the network and to get in close contact with other case studies with a similar focus to acquire knowledge and evaluate other intercropping possibilities.

Contact

  • Olivier Roiseux, Wal.Agri, case study leader
  • Daniel Jamar, CRA-W, case study monitor