Abteilung Grünland und Futterbau/Ökologischer Landbau

LegacyNet - A global network of experiments

legacynet(Source: https://legacynet.scss.tcd.ie/)

LegacyNet is a voluntary network of experimental sites set up to investigate the yield benefits of multispecies grassland leys, as well as their legacy effects on follow-on crops in a rotation. A common experiment is being established across multiple sites, with the main treatment being grassland mixtures consisting of grasses, legumes and herbs (from monoculture up to six species), and a follow-on crop (cereal or grass) to reflect the legacy effect of the grassland composition.

LegacyNet was set up in 2019 and sites are still being recruited. Please get in touch if you are interested in joining.

We know of the benefits of multi-species mixtures for yield, weed suppression, nitrogen yield and forage quality. Now, we wish to investigate how to best design grassland leys within crop rotations to maximize the function of the ley as a grassland, and to maximize the carry-over effect of the grassland (supply of symbiotically fixed nitrogen, soil health and fertility). Can we identify specific grassland species combinations that are best at delivering these functions within a crop rotation?

AIMS: LegacyNet aims to implement a common experiment across multiple sites, and collect data to allow general comparisons of the effects of multi-species grassland mixtures. LegacyNet investigates the use of multi-species grassland leys as a practical farm management strategy to improve:

  • the quantity and quality of forage yield,
  • the resource use efficiency and ecosystem services from grassland leys and
  • the legacy effects of such grassland leys within crop rotation systems.

Background

The Agrodiversity Study (COST852 Action) was a PAN-European Network with 31 sites, that showed the nitrogen replacement potential of grass-clover mixtures across a large range of environments and has culminated in five highly acclaimed "all-site" peer-review publications (see below) and many more publications by subsets of sites.

Now we have founded LegacyNet, with the intention to extend our knowledge on how grass-clover mixtures can also provide benefits to a subsequent grass or cereal crop in a crop rotation, and the degree to which these benefits are dependent on soil or climatic conditions. We are currently still inviting sites to participate, however, no funding is available for the implementation of the experiment.

Benefits of joining

There are multiple benefits for members of LegacyNet. It is anticipated that:

  1. the network will deliver multiple high profile peer-review publications in international journals (facilitated by the LegacyNet statistics partner anlaysing the multi-site data);
  2. the network will generate valuable insights about the potential of crop rotations, using a novel experimental design based on the simplex design; and
  3. individual sites will incorporate additional research questions of national interest into the experimental design (with support provided by the LegacyNet leaders to extend the experimental design and analyse the site specific data for any site wishing to do this).

 

Further information is available on the common experimental protocol and on how to join. .
 

The Agrodiversity Study "all-site" publications

  • Brophy, C., Finn, J.A., Lüscher, A., Suter, M., Kirwan, L., Sebastià, M.-T., Helgadóttir, Á., Baadshaug, O.H., Bélanger, G., Black, A., Collins, R.P., Čop, J., Dalmannsdottir, S., Delgado, I., Elgersma, A., Fothergill, M., Frankow-Lindberg, B.E., Ghesquiere, A., Golinska, B., Golinski, P., Grieu, P., Gustavsson, A.-M., Höglind, M., Huguenin-Elie, O., Jørgensen, M., Kadziuliene, Z., Kurki, P., Llurba, R., Lunnan, T., Porqueddu, C., Thumm, U., Connolly, J., 2017. Major shifts in species’ relative abundance in grassland mixtures alongside positive effects of species diversity in yield: a continental-scale experiment. J Ecol 105, 1210–1222. https://doi.org/10/gbtvrp
  • Connolly, J., Sebastià, M.-T., Kirwan, L., Finn, J.A., Llurba, R., Suter, M., Collins, R.P., Porqueddu, C., Helgadóttir, Á., Baadshaug, O.H., Bélanger, G., Black, A., Brophy, C., Čop, J., Dalmannsdóttir, S., Delgado, I., Elgersma, A., Fothergill, M., Frankow-Lindberg, B.E., Ghesquiere, A., Golinski, P., Grieu, P., Gustavsson, A.-M., Höglind, M., Huguenin-Elie, O., Jørgensen, M., Kadziuliene, Z., Lunnan, T., Nykanen-Kurki, P., Ribas, A., Taube, F., Thumm, U., De Vliegher, A., Lüscher, A., 2018. Weed suppression greatly increased by plant diversity in intensively managed grasslands: A continental-scale experiment. J Appl Ecol 55, 852–862. https://doi.org/10/gc4ftr
  • Finn, J.A., Kirwan, L., Connolly, J., Sebastià, M.T., Helgadottir, A., Baadshaug, O.H., Bélanger, G., Black, A., Brophy, C., Collins, R.P., Čop, J., Dalmannsdóttir, S., Delgado, I., Elgersma, A., Fothergill, M., Frankow-Lindberg, B.E., Ghesquiere, A., Golinska, B., Golinski, P., Grieu, P., Gustavsson, A.-M., Höglind, M., Huguenin-Elie, O., Jørgensen, M., Kadziuliene, Z., Kurki, P., Llurba, R., Lunnan, T., Porqueddu, C., Suter, M., Thumm, U., Lüscher, A., 2013. Ecosystem function enhanced by combining four functional types of plant species in intensively managed grassland mixtures: a 3-year continental-scale field experiment. J Appl Ecol 50, 365–375. https://doi.org/10/f226vx
  • Kirwan, L., Connolly, J., Brophy, C., Baadshaug, O., Belanger, G., Black, A., Carnus, T., Collins, R., Čop, J., Delgado, I., De Vliegher, A., Elgersma, A., Frankow-Lindberg, B., Golinski, P., Grieu, P., Gustavsson, A.-M., Helgadóttir, Á., Höglind, M., Huguenin-Elie, O., Jørgensen, M., Kadžiulienė, Ž., Lunnan, T., Lüscher, A., Kurki, P., Porqueddu, C., Sebastia, M.-T., Thumm, U., Walmsley, D., Finn, J., 2014. The Agrodiversity Experiment: three years of data from a multisite study in intensively managed grasslands: Ecological Archives E095-232. Ecology 95, 2680. https://doi.org/10/f3ptzf
  • Kirwan, L., Lüscher, A., Sebastià, M.T., Finn, J.A., Collins, R.P., Porqueddu, C., Helgadottir, A., Baadshaug, O.H., Brophy, C., Coran, C., Dalmannsdóttir, S., Delgado, I., Elgersma, A., Fothergill, M., Frankow-Lindberg, B.E., Golinski, P., Grieu, P., Gustavsson, A.M., Höglind, M., Huguenin-Elie, O., Iliadis, C., Jørgensen, M., Kadziuliene, Z., Karyotis, T., Lunnan, T., Malengier, M., Maltoni, S., Meyer, V., Nyfeler, D., Nykanen-Kurki, P., Parente, J., Smit, H.J., Thumm, U., Connolly, J., 2007. Evenness drives consistent diversity effects in intensive grassland systems across 28 European sites. J Ecology 95, 530–539. https://doi.org/10/dsd3jt
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