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Agriculture 2017, 7(5), 43; doi:10.3390/agriculture7050043

Weed Control Using Conventional Tillage, Reduced Tillage, No-Tillage, and Cover Crops in Organic Soybean

1
Institute of Phytomedicine, Department of Weed Science, University of Hohenheim, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
2
Institute of Crop Science, Coordination for Organic Farming and Consumer Protection, University of Hohenheim, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Patrick Carr
Received: 5 February 2017 / Revised: 26 April 2017 / Accepted: 28 April 2017 / Published: 4 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation Tillage for Organic Farming)
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Abstract

Soybean field experiments were performed to investigate the weed-suppressing effects of different tillage systems and cover crop mulches at two locations in southwest Germany during 2014 and 2015. The influence of three different tillage systems on weed control efficacy, soybean plant density, and crop yield was determined. In the no-till system (NT), two different cover crops, (rye and barley), were treated by a roller-crimper before soybean sowing. For the reduced tillage system (RT), shallow soil cultivation (7.5 cm depth) using a cultivator after cover crop harvest was performed. The third system was conventional tillage (CT), which used a plow (25 cm depth) without any previous cover crop treatment. Finally, a CT system without weed control was used as a control treatment (C). Weed densities in the field experiments ranged from 1 to 164 plants m−2 with Chenopodium album (L.), Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P. Beauv., and Sonchus arvensis (L.) as the predominant weed species. No difference in weed suppression was found between the two cover crops. The highest cover crop soil coverage was measured in the NT treatment. The greatest weed density (164 plants m−2) was measured in the untreated control. CT, RT and NT reduced weed density up to 71%, 85%, and 61%, respectively, to C, across both locations and years. Soybean plant density was reduced in NT (−36%) and CT (−18%) based on aimed sown plant density. Highest crop yields up to 2.4 t ha−1 were observed in RT, while NT resulted in lower yields (1.1 t ha−1). Our work reveals the importance of cover crops for weed suppression in soybean cropping systems without herbicide application. View Full-Text
Keywords: conservation tillage; cover crop barley (Hordeum vulgare L.); cover crop rye (Secale cereale L.); organic no-till systems; roller-crimper; soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.) conservation tillage; cover crop barley (Hordeum vulgare L.); cover crop rye (Secale cereale L.); organic no-till systems; roller-crimper; soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Weber, J.F.; Kunz, C.; Peteinatos, G.G.; Zikeli, S.; Gerhards, R. Weed Control Using Conventional Tillage, Reduced Tillage, No-Tillage, and Cover Crops in Organic Soybean. Agriculture 2017, 7, 43.

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