Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in energy crop production by cultivating winter cover crops and permanent crops (TAWIRA)


Cultivation of winter cover crops and of permanent crops offers the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in energy crop production. Eventually, soil carbon sequestration by building up soil organic carbon may even be possible, thereby making an additional contribution to mitigate climate change. The research project TAWIRA will investigate the potential to reduce greenhouse gases emissions by alteration of crop species and crop rotations, taking also into account other important factors such as economic returns. For this purpose, the index of relative agronomical suitability (IrA), which was established before as result of the research project NiCo, will be extended to include the component "greenhouse gases". IrA is designed as a transparent tool for decision support in agricultural practice and includes important parameters for energy crop assessment. More specifically, the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by cultivating winter cover crops in a double cropping system with maize and by cultivating permanent crops will be quantified based on data from two multi-year field trials already completed. Ideally, a win-win situation will be created in which the farmer will not have any additional costs due to reducing greenhouse gas emissions but advantages such as increased soil fertility, erosion protection, water conservation, reduced fertilizer inputs and associated costs.

Persons in charge

Dr. Katharina Hey
Prof. Dr. Stefan Siebert

Project duration

1st of May 2019 to 30th of April 2022


Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture via Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR)
Grant ID 22026317