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Cropping Systems

Volume 264: debated on Wednesday 18 October 1995

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to the letter of the Minister of State, 1349, of 30 June, if he will make a statement on the purpose of the less intensive farming and environmental project of non-intensive farming and the environment, SCARAB or pesticides and TALISMANS on the economic and agronomic effects of reduced input systems. [37278]

SCARAB—seeking confirmation about results at Boxworth—and TALISMAN—towards a low input system minimising agrochemicals—and agrochemicals nitrogen—are complementary projects designed to determine whether the conclusions of the earlier Boxworth project of 1981 to 1988 are valid for different soils and crop rotations. These projects seek to compare the environmental, economic and agronomic effects, including yield penalties, of adopting cropping systems which use lower inputs of agrochemicals than conventional cropping systems. SCARAB focuses on environmental and ecological effects of pesticide applications on non-target invertebrates and soil micro-organisms, whereas TALISMAN primarily seeks to measure economic effects.The less intensive farming and environmental research project—LIFE—aims to provide fundamental information on the effects, interactions and ecological implications of an integrated farming systems approach and to develop less intensive systems which are economically and ecologically sound and sustainable in the long-term.