Erik Fløjgaard Kristensen

Combining mechanical rhizome removal and cover crops for Elytrigia repens control in organic barley systems

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Mechanical weed control of perennial weeds in organic crop production over long post-harvest periods is incompatible with the establishment of cover crops for improving soil quality and preventing nutrient leaching. We suggest a new concept that comprises uprooting and immediate removal of vegetative propagules located within the plough layer to allow for quick re-establishment of a plant cover. A field experiment comparing the effects of conventional practices (stubble cultivation) with different combinations of rotary cultivation (One, Two or four passes) and cover crops (none vs. rye-vetch-mustard mixture) on Elytrigia repens rhizome removal, shoot growth and suppression of a subsequent barley crop was examined in two growing seasons. Four passes with a modified rotary cultivator, where each pass was followed by rhizome removal, reduced E. repens shoot growth in barley by 84% and 97%. In general, the cover crop developed poorly and did not affect barley or E. repens. Barley yield was only affected by treatments in the first season, where yield was negatively correlated with E. repens shoot biomass. The concept has potential for the control of severe E. repens infestations, but future research aimed at identifying more effective smother crops and less intensive methods of rhizome removal is needed.
TidsskriftWeed Research
Sider (fra-til)461-469
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 2013

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