New applications for the weed mower

Last changed: 06 December 2023

Mowing of creeping thistle and scentless mayweed in winter wheat and leys for seed production

Project resonsible: Anneli Lundkvist, Department of Crop Production Ecology, SLU.

Project group: Theo Verwijst, Department of Crop Production Ecology, SLU; Hugo Westlin, DataVäxt AB and Jonas Carlsson, JustCommonSense AB.

In organic farming, there is a strong need for more efficient weed control methods. A well balanced crop rotation is the most important indirect method to control weeds, but often, a combination with direct weed control methods like weed harrowing, row hoeing, and mowing is necessary.

Within the framework of a previous SLU EkoForsk research project, we obtained promising results with a selective weed cutter (Combcut, employed to combat Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop. (Creeping Thistle) in growing spring cereals without damaging the crop. These results give an outlook for further development of weed control applications in cropping systems which are prone to weed problems in organic farming. In winter wheat and grass leys for seed production, C. arvense and the annual weed species Tripleurospermum inodorum (L.) Sch. Bip. (Scentless Mayweed) are causing both quantitative and qualitative yield losses. The weed cutter technique likely can be further developed to decrease pressure of those weeds and to enhance yields in winter wheat and grass seed leys.

The specific aims of this new research project are:

  1. To further develop the selective mower and to test its effects on two weed species in different cropping systems.
  2. To investigate the effects of timing and frequency of above ground biomass removal in two weed species on their reproductive capacity.
  3. To investigate the effects of selective mowing on weed abundance and on crop yield and quality.

This project is envisaged to generate knowledge about long term weed population development in relation to integrated control measures.

A PhD student is associated to the project.