Turning the entire arable layer upside down with a classic plow for sowing in a "clean" soil is no longer done at PHAE. Reduced tillage preserves soil life such as beneficial soil fungi and earthworms. When organic fertilizers and aboveground crop residues digest in the top layer of the soil, a crumb structure is created that is beneficial for rainwater infiltration and for germination and initial development of the crop. Reducing tillage also increases the potential for carbon storage and biodiversity in agricultural soils.
Together with agricultural contractors and machine builders, the three partners are deploying other, sometimes lesser-known machines to prepare the soil for the succeeding crop. It concerns machines for conversion of temporary grassland into arable land but also sowing equipment that can be used to sow in a mulch layer. The performance of these machines and the effect of their use on succeeding crops and weed pressure are evaluated.