Docks in pigsty

Perennial weed control in organic agriculture

OK-Net Arable video

Alfoldi, T & Dierauer, H
The European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 652654
Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)
November 2016
Creative Commons Licence
Applied research

Watch the video

Resource explained: 

Weeds are known to spread more easily with reduced tillage. Using suitable machinery and techniques can help control persistent perennial weeds. This short video ‘Stubble cultivation to control perennial weeds in organic agriculture’ and accompanying text, produced through the Organic Knowledge Network (OK-Net) Arable project, describes the issue in relation to organic farming, and ways in which weeds can be regulated through using appropriate tools and machinery at the correct time. The video shows two types of machinery which can be used for stubble control; skim ploughs and cultivators, and features farmers describing their experiences and recommendations at a machinery demonstration on an organic farm in Birr, Switzerland.

Findings & recommendations: 
  • Deep rooting weeds are problematic in organic agriculture - harrowing can produce little effect, stubble cultivation can be the only effective way of controlling them.
  • Stubble cultivation allows you to work at different depths depending on the root system. The depth must be adjusted depending on the soil and type of root / weed.
  • Stubble cultivation in summer can be the only way to effectively regulate thistles, wild rye, bindweeds and docks.
  • It is vital to use technology properly, set up tools correctly, and use them at the appropriate time.

The OK-Net Arable project involves 17 partners from 12 European countries. Running from March 2015 to February 2018, it promotes knowledge exchange among farmers, farm advisers and scientists, and aims to increase productivity and quality in organic arable cropping across Europe.

Stubble cultivation to control perennial weeds in organic agriculture (Nov 2016)