ISSN 1392-3196 / e-ISSN 2335-8947
Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, vol. 103, No. 1 (2016), p. 11–20
DOI 10.13080/z-a.2016.103. 002

Winter oilseed rape and weed competition in organic farming using non-chemical weed control



One of the reasons why the area sown with oilseed rape in organic farms is not expanding is problems with weed, disease, and pest control as well as low seed yield. There is a lack of investigations on oilseed rape cultivated in an organic system, especially employing innovative weed control methods. To fill this gap in knowledge, field experiments were conducted at the Experimental Station of Aleksandras Stulginskis University in 2012–2013 with the aim of identifying and assessing the impact of different non-chemical weed control methods (thermal – TWC, mechanical – MWC and smothering – SMT) on weed competitiveness in winter oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) crops during the autumn vegetation period in an organic farming system with and without the use of plant bio-activators in a soil with a regular (23–25 cm) (1st experiment) and with a thickened (48–50 cm) (2nd experiment) humus layer. It was found, that compared with thermal and mechanical weed control, in the treatment using smothering weed control and spraying with plant bio-activators or not spraying, the density of winter rape crop in the soil with a regular humus layer was significantly (P ≤ 0.05) lower (1.2 to 5.3 times); in the soil with a thickened humus layer, the density of winter rape crop was 1.5 to 5.9 times lower. In winter oilseed rape during autumn vegetation period, 20–22 weed species were found, including 18–19 annuals. Stellaria media (L.) Vill., Veronica arvensis L., Sinapis arvensis L. and Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik. were the predominant weeds. In the soil with a regular and a thickened humus layer, thermal and mechanical weed control significantly (P ≤ 0.05) decreased the number of weed seedlings (1.1 to 1.9 times) when plant bio-activators were used compared with the smothering treatment. Weed control in the smothering treatment in the soil with a regular and thickened humus layers was not effective. Mechanical weed control was more efficient than thermal. Application of plant bio-activators increased the efficiency of the thermal weed control.

Key words: Brassica napus, crop smothering ability, mechanical weed control, plant bio-activators, thermal weed control, weed species.

Full text: 103_1_str2.pdf