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Last update: May 2021

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Introducing diversifying species into the cropping systems of a territory: combining knowledge production and design within multi-stakeholders platforms

Application to the case study of camelina in the Oise department.

Thesis Margot Leclère - UMR Agronomie - Grignon, 2019


Crop diversification, a way to ensure agroecological transition, raises a major question: how to produce, at low cost, knowledge on these minor species, usually poorly studied by agronomic research? We proposed and implemented an approach combining knowledge production and design, within several multistakeholders platforms, to support the introduction of new species into cropping systems. The case study of camelina, introduced either as a main crop or as a second crop in the cropping systems of the Oise department, was used, in the context of the development of a local oilseed biorefinery. First, we combined a multi-stakeholders workshop - gathering farmers, advisors, researchers, agronomist from agricultural R&D and industrials - with on-farm trials on camelina crop management routes as second crop. These crop management routes were designed, managed and appraised by farmers themselves. This approach made it possible to identify knowledge gaps and to produce knowledge useful for design (e.g. decision rules to manage camelina). In parallel, we (researchers) designed and assessed, within an on-farm trial network, three herbicide-free crop management routes for spring camelina. Our results show that increasing camelina sowing rates or intercropping camelina with another species (barley or peas) were effective agroecological ways to control weeds in camelina crop. In addition, the diagnosis of the variability of yield, oil seed content, and fatty acid composition, carried out within the same experimental network, made it possible to identify (i) the main explaining factors (e.g. nitrogen status of the crop for yield), and (ii) environmental conditions (e.g. supply of mineral nitrogen from the soil) and practices (e.g. species intercropping) determining these factors. This knowledge production led, during a design workshop, to broaden the range of modalities of introduction and management of camelina designed by farmers. Finally, we discuss how this original combination of multistakeholders platforms makes it possible (i) to produce at low cost located and generic knowledge, useful for design, and (ii) to provide tools to designer-farmers, agricultural advisors and researchers to support crop diversification within a territory.


Marie-Hélène Jeuffroy et Chantal Loyce


  • Marianne Le Bail, AgroParisTech (UMR SAD-APT)
  • Mireille Navarrete, INRA (UR Écodevelopement)
  • Anne-Sophie Voisin, INRA (UMR Agroécologie)
  • Nathalie Girard, INRA (UMR AGIR)
  • Aline Vandewalle, Chambre d’agriculture des Pays de la Loire
  • Federica Zanetti, Université de Bologne