The project will run from September 2011 to August 2014. For more information on TILMAN-ORG, you can visit the project's main site at:

or contact:

Dr. Julia Cooper
University of Newcastle
phone +44 1661 830222

Mr. Oliver Crowley
The Organic Research Centre
phone +44 7824 632 857

November 2013- "The Tilman team discuss their aims for the project and progress so far" : pdf..

Reduced tillage and green manures on organic farms - making it work!


The Nafferton Ecological Farming Group (NEFG) and the Organic Research Centre (ORC) are collaborating with partners in 10 European countries on this new research project



Reduced tillage can increase levels of soil organic matter, improve soil stability, increase soil biological activity and reduce fuel consumption. But technical difficulties, most notably in weed control, mean that abandoning the plough can be challenging for organic farmers. To make use of the benefits of reduced tillage, systems need to be adapted to the special conditions in organic agriculture.

TILMAN-ORG's aim is to allow organic farmers to realise the benefits of reduced tillage and green manures.


The TILMAN-ORG project will develop optimum techniques for reduced tillage and green manure use in organic systems. Twenty-four scientific trials, together with case studies and farmer interviews, will be conducted with 15 research partners in 11 European countries over 3 years.

New and existing data will be collected and analysed to help design optimised systems that improve soil quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, optimise weed control, enhance nutrient use efficiency and improve crop performance.


NEFG's role will be to:

  • compile and maintain data from existing trials and new experiments
  • survey organic farmers about reduced tillage and the strategic use of green manures
  • contribute to the collection and recording of data from peer-reviewed literature and provide experimental data on carbon stocks from existing long-term rotation trials
  • introduce a minimum tillage treatment into the Nafferton Factorial Systems Comparison trial

ORC's role is to monitor an on-farm trial at Duchy Home Farm, where conventional ploughing is compared with the use of a reduced tillage machine (Ecodyn combination drill & cultivator).