Weed management is often the most troublesome technical problem to be solved in organic farming, especially in poorly competitive crops like vegetables. A four-year (2000-2003) series of trials was established to assess the possibility of adopting an innovative non-chemical weed management system in organic carrot grown on the Fucino plateau, i.e., the most important carrot-growing area in Italy. The system utilized for physical weed control was based first on a false seedbed technique followed by pre-sowing weed removal, performed with a special 2 m wide 6-row spring-tine harrow. Prior to crop emergence, a pass with a flame weeder equipped with four 50 cm wide-open flame burners was also performed. Post-emergence weed control consisted of one or more hoeing passes with a purpose-designed 11-tine precision hoe equipped with spring implements (torsion weeders and vibrating tines), in addition to hand weeding. This innovative system was applied to a novel planting pattern (sowing in ten individual rows within 2 m wide beds) and compared to the standard management system of the area (sowing within 2 m wide beds but in five bands, use of spring-tine harrowing and flame weeding pre-emergence and of traditional hoeing post-emergence). The new system was tested in different commercial farms including both early and late-sown carrot. Assessments included machine operative characteristics, labor time, weed density and biomass, crop root yield and yield quality, and economic data (physical weed control costs and crop gross margin). Compared to the standard system, the innovative system usually resulted in reduced labor time (from 28 to 40%) and total costs for physical weed control (on average -416 € ha-1). Use of the precision hoe resulted in intra-row weed reduction ranging from 65 to 90%, which also led to a marked reduction in the labor required for hand weeding. In 2001 the two systems did not differ in terms of yield and yield quality, whereas in 2002 and 2003 the innovative system showed a higher mean density of carrot plants (from 28 to 55%), root yield (from 30 to 42%), and gross margin (from 40 to 100%). Carrot yield was higher in farms which adopted an early sowing whereas root commercial quality was somewhat variable between systems and years. In general, results obtained with the innovative management system look very promising.
|Autori:||PERUZZI A; GINANNI M; FONTANELLI M; RAFFAELLI M; BARBERI P|
|Titolo:||Innovative strategies for on-farm weed management in organic carrot|
|Anno del prodotto:||2007|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1017/S1742170507001810|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|