No-till cropping systems with cover crops can improve soil health, but often rely on glyphosate, which is a contentious herbicide. In this study, we investigated whether a system based on the direct sowing of sunflower (Helianthus annuus) in the dead mulch of a roller-crimped hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) could be competitive with a system where glyphosate is also sprayed to terminate the cover crop and to control weeds. We hypothesized that optimum timing of roller-crimping would be key to eliminate glyphosate requirements while maintaining sunflower performance. In a 3-year on-farm experiment, we compared three vetch termination stages (early: pre-flowering; Intermediate: beginning of flowering; late: 70% flowering) and three glyphosate rates (Nil, half and full, i.e. 1440 g of active ingredient per hectare). Vetch biomass increased progressively from early to late termination stages, and ranged between 414 and 658 g m−2. Higher vetch biomass was correlated with lower weed biomass. Treatments had inconsistent effects on weed diversity and composition, largely determined by the interactions between treatments and seasonal (different years) or local factors (different fields). Glyphosate-based treatments seemed to select for aggressive weed species, but no clear species filtering effect based on ecological or functional traits was detected. Shannon H’ was positively correlated with sunflower grain yield below a weed dry biomass threshold of 150 g m−2. Crop yield with early termination stage was a failure without glyphosate application. However, crop yield with late vetch termination was acceptable, being at par or 15% higher (mean of first and second years) in no-glyphosate compared with glyphosate-based treatments. Crop gross margins showed the same trend (+33% for no-glyphosate compared with glyphosate-based treatments). This study, for the first time, shows that targeted timing of roller-crimped hairy vetch in no-till sunflower can result in equal agronomic and economic performances as addition of glyphosate.

Targeted timing of hairy vetch cover crop termination with roller crimper can eliminate glyphosate requirements in no-till sunflower

Antichi, Daniele
Primo
;
2022-01-01

Abstract

No-till cropping systems with cover crops can improve soil health, but often rely on glyphosate, which is a contentious herbicide. In this study, we investigated whether a system based on the direct sowing of sunflower (Helianthus annuus) in the dead mulch of a roller-crimped hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) could be competitive with a system where glyphosate is also sprayed to terminate the cover crop and to control weeds. We hypothesized that optimum timing of roller-crimping would be key to eliminate glyphosate requirements while maintaining sunflower performance. In a 3-year on-farm experiment, we compared three vetch termination stages (early: pre-flowering; Intermediate: beginning of flowering; late: 70% flowering) and three glyphosate rates (Nil, half and full, i.e. 1440 g of active ingredient per hectare). Vetch biomass increased progressively from early to late termination stages, and ranged between 414 and 658 g m−2. Higher vetch biomass was correlated with lower weed biomass. Treatments had inconsistent effects on weed diversity and composition, largely determined by the interactions between treatments and seasonal (different years) or local factors (different fields). Glyphosate-based treatments seemed to select for aggressive weed species, but no clear species filtering effect based on ecological or functional traits was detected. Shannon H’ was positively correlated with sunflower grain yield below a weed dry biomass threshold of 150 g m−2. Crop yield with early termination stage was a failure without glyphosate application. However, crop yield with late vetch termination was acceptable, being at par or 15% higher (mean of first and second years) in no-glyphosate compared with glyphosate-based treatments. Crop gross margins showed the same trend (+33% for no-glyphosate compared with glyphosate-based treatments). This study, for the first time, shows that targeted timing of roller-crimped hairy vetch in no-till sunflower can result in equal agronomic and economic performances as addition of glyphosate.
2022
Antichi, Daniele; Carlesi, Stefano; Mazzoncini, Marco; Bàrberi, Paolo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1151179
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