A sufficient agricultural production in a sustainable way is one of the main global and regional challenges in the future. Limited cropland, climate change, loss of soil quality and biodiversity coupled with excessive use of non-renewable resources require new solutions for future cropping systems beyond existing management practices.
Long-term experiments are unique research platforms to shed light on the performance of cropping systems and their impact on ecosystem services. Comparisons of organic and conventional systems in long-term field experiments provide essential information on biomass productivity, nutrient cycling, climate regulation and biodiversity conservation. The DOK (Bio-Dynamic, Bio-Organic, Konventionell) field experiment in Switzerland is now running for forty years and has provided a wealth of data. With this conference, we want to bring together scientists who have been researching the functioning of agricultural systems and underlying processes in the DOK and other field experiments worldwide. We will compile and synthesize this knowledge during sessions and workshops. The discussion shall reveal the potential and limitations of long-term experiments to answer questions on the sustainability of agricultural systems. Moreover, we will formulate future research questions to be studied in long-term experiments.