- Department of Crop Production Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Minimal soil disturbance combined with spring cropping can halt soil seedbank accumulation of Alopecurus myosuroides
The basic mechanism of soil inversion tillage for control of annual weeds is based on the vertical translocation of weed seeds from the soil surface to deeper soil layers. Buried weed seeds either remain dormant in the soil seedbank and are exposed to biological and chemical decay mechanisms, or they germinate but the seedlings cannot reach the soil surface (fatal germination). However, depending on the seed biology of the respective target species, frequent inversion tillage can lead to a build-up of the soil seedbank. For soil seedbank depletion based on available knowledge of the biology of Alopecurus myosuroides seeds, soil inversion tillage is suggested to be reduced to every third or fourth year with reduced or even no-tillage (direct seeding) in between (rotational inversion tillage systems). Including spring crops in the crop rotation could further help dampening the population growth and hence the seed return into the seedbank. This study investigated the effect of rotational inversion tillage in combination with reduced tillage or direct seeding on the soil seedbank and population development of A. myosuroides. In a long-term field trial, set up in 2012, these tillage strategies were compared with continuous inversion tillage in a 3-year crop rotation with two consecutive years of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) followed by spring barley (Hordeum vulgare). The results showed a significant decline in the soil seedbank following the spring crop, irrespective of the tillage system. The continuous inversion tillage system and inversion tillage before spring cropping with reduced tillage (shallow tillage with a disc harrow) before winter wheat both led to accumulation of seeds in the soil seedbank. In contrast, inversion tillage before spring cropping with direct seeding of winter wheat depleted the soil seedbank significantly after only one crop rotation. Although only covering one intensively studied field site, these findings highlight the need for diversified cropping systems and indicate potential avenues for reducing soil tillage while controlling economically important weeds.
blackgrass; conservation agriculture; direct seeding; rotational tillage; spring barley; winter wheat
2023, Volume: 63, number: 2, pages: 115-122
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