Intercropping biomass crops with legumes

Environmental impacts, energy efficiency and economic effectiveness of feedstock production in the logistic chain depend on the input of chemicals and in particular on the use of mineral nitrogen fertiliser. Even though annual and multi-annual crops are interesting energy crops, they have major drawbacks compared to perennial crops due to higher needs in nitrogen fertilizer, leading to higher N losses and energy costs. Intercropping biomass crops with legumes offers the opportunity to reduce nitrogen fertilizer use while maintaining yields, thus improving the environmental and energetic performances (reduce GHG emissions, nitrate leaching, energy costs).

Therefore, this task aims at analysing an innovative crop management: intercropping biomass crops with legumes in order to reduce the use of nitrogen fertilizers and decrease related environmental impacts and increase energy efficiency. This task will provide detailed data on costs, productivity, biomass quality and environmental impacts of legume-based intercropping systems.