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Partners from MIXED at the international nitrogen conference, N-workshop 2024

On June 17-21 2024 the international conference, N-workshop, took place at Aarhus University. Partners from MIXED were represented in three different sessions, which reflects a general interest in how mixed farming and agroforestry systems can affect the nitrogen fixation.

Christine Watson as key note in the organic session. Photo: Stig Andersen, ICROFS
Aarhus University hosting the N-workshop 2024.
Tommy Dalgaard presenting the MIXED project.
Joana Marinheiro, University of Lisbon, presenting the emergy approach.

The question for this years’ edition of the N-workshop was: "How do we reconcile the need to increase N inputs to ensure crop productivity and human nutrition, while decreasing N losses leading to environmental pollution and associated threats to food security and ecosystem health?"
The programme for the conference was extensive and covered several different tracks with different approaches to working towards resolving the nitrogen dilemma. As a new initiative this years’ edition had a full session focusing on organic farming and Christine Watson, Professor at SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) and part of the UK network in MIXED was invited as the keynote speaker to open the session. 

How to fix nitrogen supply in organic farming
Christine Watson gave a presentation with the title “What we want, when we want it - how do we fix the Nitrogen supply challenge in organic farming?”, where she emphasized that the nitrogen in organic farming should come from sustainable sources. However, at the same time, it is crucial to maintain the yields and the quality that is necessary, so it is financially sustainable for the organic farmer. 

An introduction to the MIXED project
Tommy Dalgaard, Professor at Aarhus University and coordinator of MIXED, was part of the session “Incentives”, where he presented the overall aim of the MIXED project and the benefits of mixed farming and agroforestry systems. Based on results on efficiency, resiliency and circularity from MIXED he elaborated on how the combination and level of mixedness can affect and reduce the nitrogen loss. 

An in depth presentation about the emergy approach
In the “Food” session Joana Marinheiro from University of Lisbon, School of agriculture, who has done her PhD as part of the MIXED project, had the chance to explain in detail about the work she has been doing with mixed farming and agroforestry systems in the Montado region in Portugal. The session had the title “Emergy approach to the sustainable use of ecosystems towards better soil and nitrogen management “ and presented results from research that has been carried out in the project including the nitrogen footprint in livestock farming and the level of sustainability in this kind of mixed sytem - factors that are all included in the emergy approach.   

You can see the full programme from the conference here