Growing Beyond Monoculture web series
The Horizon 2020 DIVERSify project aims to optimise the performance of crop species mixtures or ‘plant teams’ to improve yield stability, reduce pest and disease damage, and enhance stress resilience in agricultural systems. This is the last of a series of mini-documentary films presenting findings from the project research trials and including interviews with researchers and farmers from Europe and beyond. It summarises recommendations about the use of mixed cropping, based on research trials across Europe and North Africa and asks what has been learnt in DIVERSify that will help farmers and others make decisions about mixed cropping?
Findings & recommendations
- The film outlines the areas of key benefits and focus for farmers: Reducing inputs, supporting agrobiodiversity (pollinators), knowledge sharing, diversifying the crop sequence and leveraging opportunities.
- It also highlights how decision-makers could provide financial and policy support for mixed cropping and recommends ways to ensure that intercropping knowledge is shared across agricultural communities.
“Many project participants have spoken about the benefits of mixed cropping as being like insurance. Insurance against increasingly harmful ecological inputs, insurance against unpredictable climate impacts, insurance against pollinator and wider biodiversity loss…” – Ines Minguez
“Make sure you don’t do the whole farm in one go, start small, start in an area, experiment, and do some research and some planning. It is a knowledge intensive practice. Your gut feeling, experience, people in your area, make sure you tap into that… Don’t think intercropping is going to solve all your problems… be careful of the species you choose…” – Andy Howard, farmer
View information on and watch the other three films here.