Weeds are the enemy of crops and agricultural output worldwide. Organic and conventional farmers have their respective weed control strategies, either through the use of fuel guzzling, CO2 producing machines or environmentally harmful chemicals. Research from the University of Copenhagen now suggests that the war on weeds can be conducted more sustainably by asjusting sowing patterns and crop density.
In conventional farming, the most frequently used herbicides for weed control have a negative impact on the environment. On the other hand, organic farmers enlist machines to battle unwanted growth. These machines guzzle fuel and produce CO2, while their tyres compact soil and damage its structure. New research results from the University of Copenhagen's Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences report that weeds would have a tough time competing against crops such as corn, grains and beans if farmers were to alter their sowing patterns.
Weeds battered, crop yields bumped
Research studies performed in Danish wheat fields, together with recent studies in Colombian cornfields, demonstrate that modified sowing patterns and the nearer spacing of crops results in a reduction of total weed biomass. The amount of weeds was heavily reduced – by up to 72% – while grain yields increased by more than 45% in …
Our results make it possible for agriculture to be conducted in a far more sustainable manner while maintaining consistently high grain production. This requires affordable new technologies to make it proactical out in farmers' fields. We can develop methods for out competing weeds even more if we learn more about how plants interact.
The research results from Colombia has just been published in Weed Research, one of the leading scientific journals in its area. They were achieved via a collaborative effort between the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Colombia and the University of Copenhagen.
In almost every cropping situation, an economic threshold exists justifying the use of some form of weed control. Crop yield loss information has been determined for certain single weed species growing with corn or soybeans in the midwestern region of the United States. Very little data are available for specific weeds growing in the northeastern United States. Not all weeds have been researched and few data exist for the more common situation — the effect of infestations of several weed species at various populations. Because the competitive ability of different species can change under various conditions, determining yield loss information for several species growing together is often difficult.
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