Crop diversification and weeds
PRODIVA will improve the understanding of crop diversification and its impact on weeds. The project seeks to produce results and guidelines for the application of crop diversification measures that will improve the management of weeds.
Weed problems remain to be a major constrain for the improvement of crop productivity in organic farming. There is a constant need for preventive tactics to limit undesired weed interference. Investigations undertaken in Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Poland and Germany aim to clarify the prospects of using crop diversification tactics for weed management purposes.
Despite the need for weed management to preserve crop yield, organic cropping systems strongly contribute to maintain and support diverse weed communities on arable fields. Direct control actions are motivated to instantly release the crop from weed interference. However, the reliance on direct tactics could be reduced through careful planning of cropping systems that mitigate severe weed problems and create a more balanced and manageable weed flora. Diversifying crop components in cropping systems is a way to achieve this but it has not been exploited in practise.
Expected societal benefits of the project
It is anticipated that PRODIVA can help improving growers’ awareness about the benefits of cropping system diversification measures as tools to balance weed problems. The need for direct and costly weed control measures may be lessened, which limits fossil energy consumption and maintains beneficial weed diversity and thus biological diversity. The cropping practices studied in PRODIVA are valid not only for organic production but for conventional cropping as well to reduce current reliance on chemical weed control as required according to the recently introduced IPM policy of the EU.
Expected outcomes, results and impact
Expected long-term impact
PRODIVA aim to increase the awareness of growers and consultants on the positive effects of diversifying organic cropping systems. Correspondingly, it is anticipated that especially cover crops and cereal variety blends for weed management will acquire a strong place in future research programmes.
Stakeholder networks that include farmers, advisors and educators are set-up in every participating country. Considerable interaction with these groups will take place during the life-time of the project. In addition more traditional dissemination sources will be used such as peer-reviewed papers, conference papers, contributions at growers meetings and popular articles.
Jukka Salonen, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Finland
Theo Verwijst & Anneli Lundkvist, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology, Sweden
Bärbel Gerowitt, University of Rostock – Crop Health, Germany
Roman Krawczyk & Sylwia Kaczmarek, Institute of Plant Protection – National Research Institute, Poland
Livija Zarina, State Priekuli Plant Breeding Institute (starting 01.01.2016 consolidated as Institute of Agricultural Resources and Economics), Latvia