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Diversifying rotations by introducing spring crop to reduce weed pressure in Berry, France: New practice abstract

Project partners From Arvalis, Clotilde Toque, Edouard Baranger, Peio Bachelet Piris and from Terres Inovia, Gilles Sauzet have recently published a practice abstract about introducing spring crops to reduce weed pressure.

This practice abstract present the results of trial in Berry, France, which is located in the centre of the country. In this region crop rotations are short and focused on winter crops. Such rotations are prone to high weed pressure (such as bedstraw, hedge mustard, geraniums, etc., including resistant weeds), and lead to a high dependence on herbicides (average TFI of 2.9). Ten-year projections (carried out by Arvalis, Terres Inovia and ITB using the Systerre® tool) have shown that weed pressure may increase further in these rotations, leading to a 37% increase in herbicide use, an 8% loss in crop productivity and a 60% decrease in profit.

To limit and reduce weed pressure and herbicide dependency, diversified cropping systems are being investigated. Diversifying rotation to rapeseed-maize-sunflower-soft winter wheat, i.e., by adding spring crop species for two consecutive years, may help reduce pest and disease burden. Other spring crops than maize and sunflower, e.g., lentils, can be added in the rotation to add value whilst breaking weed cycles.

This type of rotation significantly reduces weed pressure. Ten-year projections have shown

  1. a reduction of herbicide use by 35%;
  2. a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 32%, and
  3. with high value crops added, an increase in net margins by 12%

In this practice abstract, practical recommendations in regards to sowing, weeding and how to compete against them, as well as adapting intercropping periods.

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