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Experimental and empirical evidence shows that reducing weed control in winter cereal fields is a viable strategy for farmers

Catarino, Rui; Gaba, Sabrina and Bretagnolle, Vincent (2019) Experimental and empirical evidence shows that reducing weed control in winter cereal fields is a viable strategy for farmers. Scientific Reports, p. 9004.

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Document available online at: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02165723


Modern agriculture needs a paradigm shift to make the world’s food production sustainable whilemitigating social and environmental externalities. Although various policies to limit the use of agrochemicals have recently been implemented in the european Union, the use of both herbicides and fertilizers has remained fairly constant. Farmers are assumed to behave optimally, producing the best they can, given the agronomic constraints of their fields. Based on this assumption, reducing agrochemicals should inevitably have negative effects on food production, or reduce farmers’ incomes. Coupling empirical analysis based on field surveys and experimental trials where weed management and nitrogen input were manipulated in the same production fields and under real farming conditions, we demonstrate that high use of N fertiliser or intense weed control slightly increase yields, but that this increase is not enough to offset the additional costs incurred by their use. Our experimental design allowed inputs to be varied in a two-factor design, along a gradient spanning from organic to highly intensive farming, while holding all other conditions constant and thus avoiding confounding effects. Quantification of crop yields and gross margins from winter cereal farming showed that reducing dependence on weed management may not hamper cereal production in this system, and is economically profitable at the field level on the short term. our study thus contributes to addressing a key gap in our economic knowledge, and gives hope for implementing win-win strategies for farmers and the environment.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:efficiency (en), yield (en), pesticides (fr), agriculture (fr), nitrogen (fr), intensification (fr), management (fr), grain (fr)
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Research affiliation: France > INRAe - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement
ISSN:ISSN: 2045-2322
Related Links:https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02165723/document
Project ID:HAL-INRAe
Deposited By: PENVERN, Servane
ID Code:41098
Deposited On:12 Aug 2021 10:37
Last Modified:12 Aug 2021 10:37
Document Language:English

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