ARVALIS, proactive in the fight against climate change

The climate change issue lies at the heart of the Institute’s work, with a particular focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, adapting practices to the new context, and utilising the “carbon sink” function of the photosynthesis process.

Reducing GHG emissions

Nitrogen oxide emanations are the primary source of greenhouse gasses (GHG) from arable crops ; they mainly derive from nitrogen fertilisation. This is why ARVALIS has developed and disseminates tools designed to estimate those losses and to help producers to optimise fertiliser inputs : auto-diagnosis (EGES), nitrogen fertilisation management (Farmstar Expert), dynamic calculation of the fertilisation plan (FertiWeb), calculation of the effects of farm manure inputs (calculette PRO), No Gas research project to minimise emissions, etc.

Adapting to climate change

Climate change has obviously an impact on agricultural production, and its effect is already being felt : stagnating cereal yields, increasingly frequent freak weather events (drought, heatwaves), etc. ARVALIS is therefore establishing research programmes designed to develop more resilient systems whilst helping to achieve high technical performance. They include a study in varietal tolerance to drought (PhénoField), a micro-irrigation experiment, and the development of decision support tools (Irré-LIS).

Optimising the carbon sink function of arable crops

Two possible routes are open and being investigated on this topic :

Strengthening the carbon capture and ground storage function through measures at various levels :
- a green cover (permanent cover, intercropping...) that increases solar energy capture in a parcel and helps to boost the soil’s organic matter,
- changes in crop rotation, with the possibility, in certain conditions and in certain regions, of growing 3 crops over two years, therefore increasing the level of biomass produced and the amount of incorporation of crop residue into the ground,
- soil cultivation techniques (direct drilling) and their impact on organic matter dynamics, optimising the models (AMG for organic matter status) that help to assess on a long term basis the evolution of the organic matter content of the soil depending on technique chosen by producers.

Better biomass optimisation as an alternative to products from fossil origin. ARVALIS’s approach is to work on developing tools that help estimate biomass resources over a region, combining all sources (harvested crop residue, industrial by-products, forestry products and by-products, residual organic products, etc.) and the different uses, or even potential conflictual uses (reincorporation into the ground, bedding for livestock. etc.).

More information (in French)