For climatic and soil condition reasons, maize monoculture in the Bearn region is the reference system for more than 60 years. However, this system faces technical and regulatory issues. This cropping system can suffer from high weed pressure (such as foxtail, crabgrass, datura, panic, bindweed, etc.) and pest damage (wireworm, corn borer, sesamia, etc.). Moreover, this system must also cope with the evolution of CAP regulations, which require the diversification of crop rotation.
To reduce these pressures and face CAP regulations, 8 innovative diversified cropping systems have been evaluated, during the last 3 years, in Bearn, France, located in the southwest of the country. The innovative system based on a 2-year maize-soybean rotation, with an oat cover crop, which has given the most satisfactory results.
By adding a legume in the rotation, the amount of nitrogen needed is 40% lower than in maize monoculture, which decreases the operating costs. The region is also very suitable for soybean and oat cover crop, which reaches good yields. Thanks to the benefits of a more diversi fied rotation and the implementation of a cover crop, weed and pest cycles are disrupted leading to reduce pressure.