Mixed Plantings Produce Higher Yield, Says European Study

Research published in Nature Plants by a team led by ETH Zurich Professor Christian Schöb revealed that mixed cultures with greater biodiversity produce a much higher yield than monocultures in arable farming. Researchers tested mixtures of two or four different crops in Spain and Switzerland. A mixture of two species increased yield by 3% in Spain and 21% in Switzerland, while four species sown alongside each other increased yield by as much as 13% in Spain and 44% in Switzerland. The researchers credit the biodiverse planting’s better use of available resources and more effective natural pest control for the yield increase. They note, however, that no seeds are available specifically for use in mixed plantings and that a change in agricultural practice will be required to harvest and separate mixed crops effectively.