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Diversified grain-based cropping systems provide long-term weed control while limiting herbicide use and yield losses

Abstract : AbstractIntegrated weed management encourages long-term planning and targeted use of cultural strategies coherently combined at the cropping system scale. The transition towards such systems is challenged by a belief of lower productivity and higher weed pressure. Here, we hypothesize that diversifying the crop sequence and its associated weed management tools allow long-term agronomic sustainability (low herbicide use, efficient weed control, and high productivity). Four 6-year rotations with different constraints (S2: transition from reduced tillage to no-till, chemical weeding; S3: chemical weeding; S4: typical integrated weed management system; S5: mechanical weeding) were compared to a reference (S1: 3-year rotation, systematic ploughing, chemical weeding) in terms of herbicide use, weed management, and productivity over the 2000–2017 period. Weed density was measured before and after weeding. Crop and weed biomass were sampled at crop flowering. Compared to S1, herbicide use was reduced by 46, 65, and 99% in S3, S4, and S5 respectively. Herbicide use in S2 was maintained at the same level as S1 (− 9%), due to increased weed pressure and dependence to glyphosate for weed control during the fallow period of the no-till phase. Weed biomass was low across all cropping systems (0 to 5 g of dry matter m−2) but weed dynamics were stable over the 17 years in S1 and S4 only. Compared to S1, productivity at the cropping system scale was reduced by 22% in S2 and by 33% in S3. These differences were mainly attributed to a higher proportion of crops with low intrinsic productivity in S2 and S3. Through S4’s multiperformance, we show for the first time that low herbicide use, long-term weed management, and high crop productivity can be reconciled in grain-based cropping systems provided that a diversified crop rotation integrating a diverse suite of tactics (herbicides included) is implemented.
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Guillaume Adeux, Nicolas Munier-Jolain, Dominique Meunier, Pascal Farcy, Stefano Carlesi, et al.. Diversified grain-based cropping systems provide long-term weed control while limiting herbicide use and yield losses. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, Springer Verlag/EDP Sciences/INRA, 2019, 39 (4), pp.1-13. ⟨10.1007/s13593-019-0587-x⟩. ⟨hal-02908235⟩



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