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Interactive Effects of Subsidiary Crops and Weed Pressure in the Transition Period to Non-Inversion Tillage, A Case Study of Six Sites Across Northern and Central Europe

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Institute of Crop Science, University of Hohenheim, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
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Faculty of Biosciences, Department of Plant Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, 1433 Ås, Norway
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Division of Biotechnology and Plant Health, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, 1433 Ås, Norway
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Department of Crop Production Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 75007 Uppsala, Sweden
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The Organic Research Centre, Berkshire RG20 0HR, UK
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Research Division Agroecology and Environment, Agroscope, 8046 Zürich, Switzerland
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Department of Plant Sciences, Technical University of Munich, 85354 Freising, Germany
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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of Zurich, 8006 Zürich, Switzerland
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Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecological Plant Protection, University of Kassel, 37213 Witzenhausen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2019, 9(9), 495; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9090495
Received: 5 August 2019 / Revised: 26 August 2019 / Accepted: 27 August 2019 / Published: 29 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Weed Science and Weed Management)
Reducing soil tillage can lead to many benefits, but this practice often increases weed abundance and thus the need for herbicides, especially during the transition phase from inversion tillage to non-inversion tillage. We evaluated if subsidiary crops (SCs, e.g., cover crops) can mitigate the effects of non-inversion tillage on weed abundance. Two-year experiments studying SC use, tillage intensity, and nitrogen (N) fertilization level were carried out twice at six sites throughout northern and central Europe. SCs significantly reduced weed cover throughout the intercrop period (−55% to −1% depending on site), but only slightly during the main crops. Overall weed abundance and weed biomass were higher when using non-inversion tillage with SCs compared to inversion tillage without SCs. The effects differed due to site-specific weed pressure and management. With increasing weed pressure, the effect of SCs decreased, and the advantage of inversion over non-inversion tillage increased. N fertilization level did not affect weed abundance. The results suggest that SCs can contribute by controlling weeds but cannot fully compensate for reduced weed control of non-inversion tillage in the transition phase. Using non-inversion tillage together with SCs is primarily recommended in low weed pressure environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: N fertilization; cover crops; living mulches; catch crops; non-inversion tillage; conservation agriculture; meta-analysis; weed management; integrated weed management; IPM N fertilization; cover crops; living mulches; catch crops; non-inversion tillage; conservation agriculture; meta-analysis; weed management; integrated weed management; IPM
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Reimer, M.; Ringselle, B.; Bergkvist, G.; Westaway, S.; Wittwer, R.; Baresel, J.P.; van der Heijden, M.G.A.; Mangerud, K.; Finckh, M.R.; Brandsæter, L.O. Interactive Effects of Subsidiary Crops and Weed Pressure in the Transition Period to Non-Inversion Tillage, A Case Study of Six Sites Across Northern and Central Europe. Agronomy 2019, 9, 495.

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