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Cover Crops to Secure Low Herbicide Weed Control Strategies in Maize Grown with Reduced Tillage

Amossé, Camille; Büchi, Lucie; Wendling, Marina; Jeangros, Bernard and Charles, Raphael (2018) Cover Crops to Secure Low Herbicide Weed Control Strategies in Maize Grown with Reduced Tillage. In: Abstract Book - ESA2018. XVe European Society for Agronomy Congress (ESA), 27.-31.8.2019, Geneva, Switzerland, p. 116.

[thumbnail of Abstract] PDF - English (Abstract)

Document available online at: http://www.esa-congress-2018.ch/programme/programme-and-abstract-book/


As a key-element of conservation agriculture, the occasional or systematic suppression of full-inversion ploughing implies an adaptation of the cropping system. To assess the ability of cover crops to control weeds in a subsequent maize crop grown with reduced tillage, three annual experiments were implemented at the research station of Agroscope Changins, Nyon, Switzerland. Ten non-wintering cover crop (CC) species were sown in mid-summer and compared to a bare soil treatment in strip-plot experiments including different weeding strategies according to integrated weed management rules. In case of a predictable impasse for weed control, an alternative management option was chosen 1) at the end of winter: total herbicide application instead of no herbicide application, 2) at the beginning of May before maize sowing: minimum soil tillage instead of no tillage. The ability of cover crop species to control weed was evaluated at the stage 2-4 leaves of maize. The shoot dry matter yield of maize was measured at harvest at the end of August.
At the beginning of November, mean CC dry shoot biomass varied between 1.2 and 11.1 t DM ha-1 depending on experimental year and CC species. On average over the three years, Asteraceae (Helianthusannuus and Guizotiaabyssinica) showed the highest shoot dry matter among the tested species (> 6.0 t DM ha-1). Legume species (Pisumsativum arvense, Trifolium alexandrinum and Vicia sativa) and Brassicaceae species (Brassicacampestrisoleifera and Raphanussativuslongipinnatus) presented the lowest 3-year mean shoot biomass (≤4.0 t DM ha-1) At the end of winter, the three legume species and Avenastrigosa showed the highest plant residue soil cover and Brassicaceae species the lowest one. CC residue soil cover at the end of winter was only slightly positively correlated with CC autumn shoot biomass.
In three out of eight cases, the chosen weeding strategy was very efficient in terms of weed control at the stage 2-4 leaves of maize. In the remaining five cases, the weeding strategy did not succeed in preventing weed infestation at the beginning of maize development. A mean weed cover higher than 15% was observed when no total herbicide and/or no tillage was applied before maize sowing. In three out of these five cases, a significant CC effect on weed cover could be observed. CC species able to produce high amounts of biomass in autumn appeared to be useful in terms of weed control. The most efficient CC species varied from year to year: G. abyssinica in 2011, H. annuus in 2012 and A. strigosa in 2014. CC effect on maize yield was significant in a single case, but the effect of CC species tended to be positive compared to the control treatment without CC. Despite only partial efficacy, the use of cover crops is recommended for limiting weed incidence in cropping systems aimed at reducing soil tillage and herbicide use.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Speech
Keywords:cover crop, reduced soil tillage, total herbicide, weed cover, maize performance, weed control, reduced tillage
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Crop combinations and interactions
Crop husbandry > Production systems > Cereals, pulses and oilseeds
Crop husbandry > Soil tillage
Crop husbandry > Weed management
Research affiliation: Switzerland > Agroscope > ART - Reckenholz location
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Advisory Service
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Soil
UK > Natural Resources Institute (NRI Uni Greenwich)
Deposited By: Charles, Dr Raphaël
ID Code:34564
Deposited On:18 Feb 2019 19:29
Last Modified:05 Jan 2021 13:40
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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