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WECOF
Strategies of weed control in organic farming

The purpose of the proposal is to optimise weed control in organic farming with the emphasis on how to grow winter wheat while aiding weed suppression by indirect measures of weed control, rather than relying further on the development of physical weed control techniques. A core programme will focus on morphological features, row width and sowing direction, all of which influence the competitive ability for light. The efficiency of further weed control measures, such as photocontrol, allelopathic effects, etc., will be studied in field and laboratory trials. The elaborated strategies will be integrated in a decision support system that will be checked and demonstrated on pilot farms. It is intended that an optimal site-specific combination of weed control measures derived from the decision support system can significantly reduce the need for mechanical control, thus saving fossil energy. Impacts on economics as well as European Union policy will be analysed.

Objectives
Optimisation of natural competitive relationship between wheat crop and weeds by identifying and ranking the relative importance of key factors responsible for weed suppression
Analysis and evaluation of allelopathy and photocontrol as measures of indirect weed control
Specifying and ranking weed species controllable with the proposed strategies
Development of an agronomic modelto link all factors under study
Macro- and micro-economic analysis of the different week control strategies
development and evaluation of a decision support system (DSS) for weed management in winter wheat

Results
WECOF seizes several former aspects of weed science buried in oblivion due to the strong preference of chemical weed control in the main stream agriculture. Weed competition by shading ability is a cost neutral ecologically advantageous approach to control weeds. Allelopathy as a natural phenomenon has become of increasing interest in weed science for ecological reasons as well. The potential of weed control by night-time tillage still needs further investigation before being a reliable element for weed control. The project is expected to result in benefits mainly to farmers and breeders, but also to weed science and extension services. Farmers are intended to be provided with information on site specific weed control measures in winter wheat. A manual for routine characterisation of cereal varieties with regard to their ability to suppress weed growth will help breeders to select varieties suitable for Organic Farming. It is expected that weed control in Organic Farming will be significantly improved leading to higher yields and lower costs as a function of reduced fuel consumption, time and labour input.

Classified in CEREALS, ARABLE CROPS, NON-FOOD PRODUCTS, CAP AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Scientist responsible for the project

Mr REINHARDT LUTZ
Katzenburgweg 3
53115 Bonn
Germany - DE

Phone: +49 228 737274
Fax: +49 228 737473
E-mail: d.neuhoff@uni-bonn.de

References

Project ID QLRT-1999-31418
Organisation Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitšt Bonn
Area 5.1.1
Start date 01 October 2000
Duration (months) 48
Total cost 2 746 922 €
Total EC contribution   2 272 190 €
Status Completed
Web address of the project   http://www.uni-bonn.de/wecof/

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