The DOK-trial (dynamic, organic, conventional) is a farming system comparison trial, jointly managed by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and Agroscope. While the original research question focused on the feasibility of organic farming in general, scientific research has been expanded on e.g. crop health, soil nutrient fluxes, trace gas emissions and other topics. The comparison between a treatment receiving only mineral fertilizer and a treatment receiving farmyard manure serves as an example for farming systems with and without livestock.
No fertilisation Mineral fertilizer Farmyard manure Mineral fertilizer
Field trial Latin rectangle
* MAT: Medium Average Temperature
** MAP: Medium Average Precipitation
The original aim of the DOK trial was to study the effect of different farming systems (organic farming, mixed farming, conventional farming) on crop performance, soil properties and other ecosystem services. Today, the trial serves as an experimental platform for basic as well as applied research topics, including soil biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions, nutrient dynamics and farming system sustainability. In AGROMIX we compare mixed farming treatments that are fertilized with slurry to conventional farming, where mineral fertilizers are used.
The DOK-trial provides the unique opportunity to study different farming systems since more than 40 years.”
Jochen Mayer AGROSCOPE
Mixed and non-mixed farming systems have similar crop yield over 42 years.
Mixed farming systems keep a high soil quality, while it is reduced under non-mixed farming.
High soil quality and soil biota requires comparatively high livestock density which causes trade-offs to other goals such as food security and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Discover our eight agroforestry and mixed farming trial sites
Hartmann, M., Frey, B., Mayer, J., Mäder, P., & Widmer, F. (2015). Distinct soil microbial diversity under long-term organic and conventional farming. The ISME journal, 9(5), 1177-1194. Leifeld, J., Reiser, R., & Oberholzer, H. R. (2009). Consequences of conventional versus organic farming on soil carbon: Results from a 27‐year field experiment. Agronomy Journal, 101(5), 1204-1218. Mäder P, Fliessbach A, Dubois D, Gunst L, Fried P, Niggli U. Soil fertility and biodiversity in organic farming. Science. 2002; 296:1694-7. Mayer, J., Gunst, L., Mäder, P., Samson, M. F., Carcea, M., Narducci, V., & Dubois, D. (2015). Productivity, quality and sustainability of winter wheat under long-term conventional and organic management in Switzerland. European Journal of Agronomy, 65, 27-39.