Living Labs

Stefano Bortolussi (
Most used practices:
Mechanical Control - Mowing - Grazing - Mulching

Citrus Living Lab

The first Italian Living Lab deals with bergamot, a typical citrus orchard of Calabria (south Italy). The farmers of this region ask for sustainable weed control practices of bergamot orchards, which are typically managed intensively, in both conventional and organic farming systems. A multiactorial team made up of members from Associazione Italiana l’Agricoltura Biologica (AIAB), University of Catania and Messina, is carrying out a field trial on a conventional and organic bergamot orchard to test alternative weed control methods. The field trials in the LL started with the collection of soil samples to identify and isolate beneficial microorganisms. After multiplication, these microorganisms will be used to treat the cover crop seeds for the next season to investigate the effects on growth stimulation. We sowed three different cover crops to measure the differences in weed suppression: faba bean minor (Vicia faba L. minor), berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum L.) and a hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth.) – oat (Avena sativa L.) mixture. From the first observations we found that cover crops efficiently controlled weeds and promoted biodiversity, thus allowing an eco-friendly management of bergamot orchards.